Flat tails, beady eyes, and overgrown teeth come to mind first when people picture beavers. People also most commonly associate beavers with their dams, the homes they build on the water. They live about 10-12 years and have a smell on their coats that is often used for perfume. Beavers come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties, each with food preferences from their diverse diet. What do beavers eat? Let us find out.
What Do Beavers Eat?
Beavers have a relatively diverse diet in that they eat many things considered inedible by most of the Animal Kingdom. All beavers are herbivores, meaning they don’t eat any sort of meat, not even fish. Their enlarged teeth are primarily used to cut and chew through wood rather than to bite into prey. Sometimes their teeth even over grow if they are not provided with their correct nutritional demands.
What Do Beavers Like To Eat? Of course, even if they only eat fruits and vegetables, beavers still have their favorites.
What Do Beavers Eat For Food in Nature?
Do Beavers Eat Bark? If beavers had a number-one favorite food, it would be tree bark. They love to sample from a variety of tree species: aspen, black cherry, and beech are just a few of the types of trees beavers enjoy eating the bark from.
Contrary to popular belief, beavers don’t eat all of the tree bark — typically, they just eat the cambium of the tree, which is the inner bark hidden by the rougher, tougher bark. Beavers can digest cellulose better than many other animals, so sampling cambium isn’t a challenge.
Do Beavers Eat Grass? Grass is typically a go-to for most herbivores, but many animals prefer to eat the grass when it’s young and more palatable. As grass matures, it grows more tasteless and less enjoyable, so animals enjoy feasting on new grass.
Ferns are a little less common. Certain types of ferns are toxic, such as bracken fern. Many animals opt to stay away from dangerous plants like the bracken fern, but beavers enjoy the poisonous parts and eat them anyway!
Beavers can also eat smaller parts of trees, like twigs and shoots, without having digestive troubles. If the part of the tree bark that beavers enjoy can be thought of as the meat of a diet, you might find it easy to consider twigs and shoots a bit lighter, like the leftovers that you put into a stew the next day.
Different species of beavers exist across the globe. Each one developed and evolved on its own, acquiring a taste for the local plants. The American beaver, for example, will have a different craving for vegetation than the Eurasian beaver. Each has evolved to the point where it likes to eat the plants that grow native in its respective country.
When you visit beavers in the zoo, they should appear in their aquatic habitat, surrounded by various aquatic plants. This environment may be as similar as the zoo can get to the beaver’s habitat in the wild. It’s important to teach children and unaware adults how animals live in the wild and the impact zoos create by striving to make their animals’ lives as close to the wild as possible.
In the summertime, beavers may opt to eat more aquatic plants than usual. Cattails and water lilies are among some of their favorites. Cattails themselves have little nutritional value, but since they’re so abundant in wetlands and surrounding areas, beavers will never find themselves short of food.
Many people don’t know that beavers can eat so-called “people food,” too! Just as humans may snack on mushrooms, beavers can forage for them and have them for dinner or a tasty treat.
A shrub is an herbaceous plant with plenty of greens. People commonly plant them outside of houses, but they can grow naturally, too. You can think of a shrub as the beaver’s take on a salad, since plenty of greens are involved.
Since clover is so abundant, a beaver lacking in nutrition may opt for it. Clover holds many nutritional benefits, especially red clover. Red clover can provide ample nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C, just to name a few.
Do Beavers Eat Apples? Beavers like fruit, too! Since beavers are fond of apple trees, it makes sense that they would gravitate toward eating apples, too. Apples can serve as a juicy treat whenever beavers find them. They’re not so different from humans in that way. Yes, they sure do eat soft fruits such as apples!
Beavers can also feast on human crops when they feel hungry enough. Some of the beaver’s favorite human foods are crops such as corn, beans, and potatoes. If you remove the part about eating tree bark and add some meat in, a beaver might just have the same diet as a human!
What Do Beavers Eat?
If they can’t finish all of their food, beavers will store it for later use. Even though beavers and humans have their differences, their diets aren’t all that far off from one another. They have a more diverse palate than just trees — in fact, beavers will eat just about everything, including tree bark! The inside of tree bark just happens to be the easiest form of dinner to access. Who’s hungry?
Jane is an environmental writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers sustainability and eco-friendly living. What do beavers eat? Now you know! Lastly, read more articles like this one on our front page. Finally, check out our Instagram as well.