American Beaver | Awesome Animals

[Music] lumberjack surveyor Builders engineer it’s all in a day’s work for beaver they’ve got the tools and the know-how create a brand new ecosystem one log at a time when they build everyone shares the reward a beaver pond is a wildlife magazine it’s the place to find a mate in raise a family to hunt or fight for survival in the center of the action the engineer keeps the whole thing running building a dam that’s just part of the job these guys will face down predators voyage into the unknown and battle the full force of nature all to create their little slice of paradise [Music] these are the Teton Mountains in Jackson Hole Wyoming at their base slides a large river valley a place the American beaver called home they are cousins of mice and squirrels but your 12 pound cat wouldn’t want to chase down these 50-pound fur balls it’s hard to find an animal on earth that resembles them they’re a bit like an oversized woodchucks that borrowed spare parts from other animals their front paws are five fingered and nimble like a raccoon while their back feet are webbed like a duck’s for swimming their paddle tail could have been borrowed from a platypus but without the first in their teeth their most prized possession are like giant rabbit incisors put that all together and you have one mean engineering machine in just five years these beavers turned a small forest stream into what’s now called Willow Pond of that deep diverse wetland all from a few rocks twigs and mud as spring arrived the water attracts an entire cast of characters year after year they count on the beaver cond like they count on spring itself sandhill cranes arrived from Mexico along with white pelicans Canada geese and golden eye ducks may have only traveled a few miles they need quiet water and good cover for nesting and this beaver pond provide both for a cow moose the willows provide more than cover the early spring buds are a welcome relief after a winter eating nothing but dry twigs the Beavers pond is the most happening place in the valley bringing about animals of all types but with all the hustle and bustle predators are eager to join the party as well a mother grizzly and her three cubs have just woken up from a six-month slumber they’re hungry quick and they’ll eat anything they can get their paws on including a plump North American beaver the father beaver senses danger and head straight for the deepest and safest part of the pond he can easily out swim a bear or hide in the murky water holding his breath for up to 15 minutes but mother must stay in the lodge with her young it’s a dangerous move the bears know there’s a meal inside but even a 600-pound predator doesn’t crush this brilliantly engineered structure maybe the Bears thought the Beavers were too much work or they’re still groggy from a long winters nap either way mom settles instead for the quick easy delicacy of a rotten trout [Music] bear cubs learn to hunt by watching their mothers and each little victory deserves the celebration while they get valuable training from mom there’s still plenty of time for play believe it or not the grizzly bear one of the top predators in the forest isn’t the most serious threat to the Beavers in springtime it’s the sudden unpredictable things six months worth of snow melts in the span of a few weeks trickles of water become torrents the tiny runoff stream that feeds the willow pond swelled into a raging river and it smashes the Beaver Dam capisce [Music] it’s washed downstream in an instant the Adult Swim against the raging current but young beavers aren’t nearly as strong one of the year old tips has strayed from the lodge at the wrong time if he gets swept away he could be lost or injured in the rocky stream luckily mom comes to the rescue [Music] with the worst / the Beavers assess the damage with the dam gone their pond is draining weeks of hard work washed away in an instant it’s not just the Beavers who are losing their home an entire community is counting on them to save this pond luckily this is what beavers were born to do the sound of running water triggers an obsessive desire to build and once again the Beavers spring into action step 1 gather supplies armed with nothing more than the great set of incisors mothers leader gets to lumberjacking [Music] those teeth of hers never stopped growing if she doesn’t wear them down every day they soon outgrow her head but when you spend as much time chewing through wood as she does that’s not a problem there’s no time for sitting around on one’s tail this is a whole family affair mother put the stick in place while father patches holds from debris gathered from the bottom and carried any way he can one within a week they’ve got the water back under control they’ve saved their pond despite the scare their two-year-old son has gotten crucial on-the-job training and he’s going to need it his mother is about to give birth to a new litter their house might be well constructed but it’s no mansion the two-year-old is about to get the boot he must set off and build a pond of his own it’s not as easy as finding a place next door the closest real estate is already claimed other beavers probably his older siblings have already established colonies nearby this beaver must venture out even further into the unknown and it’s dangerous there will be predators and little protection when he finds an unoccupied building site he’ll have to engineer a comet his own all from scratch and all before winter comes again this is a journey than many young beavers do not survive as summer approaches the valley erupts with life the beavers have created the perfect place to raise a family and it attracts all washed applies a mother moose brings her two week old cat out of the forest to the palms edge for a drink while some Swan fused the pond for nesting and a mother Fox sees it as a perfect hunting ground to help bees for growing young the kids learn to hunt by watching their mothers and by simply roughhousing around they don’t seem to have a worry in the world others don’t have it so easy the two-year-old is still on a house-hunting mission he’s only two miles from the willow pond where he was born but to a beaver that’s an epic journey finally he discovers a promising piece of property and it just happens to have a special smell about it there’s a female nearby a single female he’s hit the jackpot beavers aren’t much for romance for this young couple attraction as a matter of convenience she is the only available female around and he is the only male that’s good enough for them now it’s time to get back to work and do what beavers do best build a dam starting the project from scratch the pair musters every skill engineer woodcutter carpenter even stone nations first comes their foundation a bit of brush they lay on the bottom of the strength and then a few thoughtfully placed stones to anchor it in place finally they add layers of debris and wood holes are patched with mud all those into place a basic dam takes shape with layers of branches rocks logs and debris arranged in a triangle as the water level rises the Beavers add more layers making the dam higher and wider after a month their 40-foot dam is finally complete and their pond begins to grow the first trees are cleared the stream is blocked and the land flood they’ve single-handedly transformed an entire landscape no cements chainsaws or bulldozers required they’ve just passed the first big test of adulthood they built a dam and filled a pond but a beavers work is never done their next house project their lakeside beaver lodge back at Willow Pond mom and dad are on food shuttling Duty they gather up the family favorite alder Cottonwood Aspen and Willow then float branch after tasty branch down the pond to the lodge the kits are impatient eating machines waiting for their food delivery and then squabbling over the biggest twig mom and dad attempt to sneak in a snack of their own they might only get the small leftover twigs but nothing beats a little crunchy bark and some soft Hopi wood they have their fast-food technique down nimble forepaws been a small branch like corn on the cob while their sharp cheese strip off the tasty bit as picky as they are beavers can pack away two pounds of wood every day that’s quite a challenge for an animal that lives underwater but whose food grows on land and even worse they’ve cut down all the trees around them for their building projects but leave it to the Beavers to get creative and use a little animal awesomeness if you can’t bring the trees to the water’s edge why not bring the water to the trees the Beavers turn hydro engineers build an entire canal system their short runs out of the water have already worn paths in the dirt now all they have to do is a little extra excavation and it fills with water problem solved mother and father beaver continue to dredge their channels depositing the mud on the bank all summer long their hard work pays off they create an entire network of waterways that reach out like fingers from the main pond they are the tell-tale mark of an older beaver pond stretching as far as 750 feet into the surrounding forest this way they always have a watery escape route and it’s definitely easier to move branches by floating them rather than dragging especially when you need to stockpile loads of branches for winter and time is running out cold weather is coming in a hurry a chilly wind sweeps down from the mountains setting the Aspen’s and cottonwoods ablaze at their brand-new beaver pond the young couple can sense the change they have their Dam but they quickly need to build their safe warm shelter they are beaver lodge it’s time to move some timber ASAP beavers teeth make remarkable chain slobs this mail cannot his way through a six-inch tree trunk in under an hour but lumberjacking is dangerous work every now and then a beaver will get crushed by a falling tree so this is a one beaver job his mate knows to stay clear until he through it’s round-the-clock work beavers are mostly nocturnal so working the night shift is no problem the young male just keeps on chomping every few bites he pauses and listens for creaks and snaps [Music] that way he knows when to dive for cover [Music] now the female joins in to help cut up the tree into logs like a mobile sawmill the two Lumberjacks strip off the branches and float the logs down the pond to the job site morning comes and they’re still working you could coin their style eco-friendly sheet piling sticks and brush high into a free-form mound then they gnaw and dig out the inside into an earthen cavern complete with rooms and even entryways a layer of mud mortar is the finishing touch to hold it together and seal out the coil over the course of a week they built a cozy home four feet high with walls 2 feet thick and a plush interior any beaver would long for the entrances sit below water levels they open into an entryway for drying off and eating above that sits the main living room vented with a chimney to keep it from overheating it’s a castle built for a beaver and just in time winter has arrived when snow comes to Jackson Hole it blankets the valley for six months much of the Willow Pond freezes solid but in the beaver lodge things are pretty cozy thick walls keep out the cold and a layer of body fat especially in their bare tails does the rest mostly they sleep when hunger strikes they can swim to their pantry and back in a few seconds they never need to set foot outside except that is if you’re a young beaver trying to make you through your first winter on your own outside lizards whip the snow into ten foot drifts and temperatures can plunge to 40 degrees below zero most animals just have to tough it out bison use their heads like plows to reach clumps of grass buried under the snow moose try to get by on the dry twigs of Willow and other trees and Al Crudup plant shoots by pawing through the snow with their hooks but a certain young and inexperienced beaver couple didn’t store enough food for the winter their pantry is empty holes in the deep snow means someone has snuck out of the lodge when he shouldn’t have it’s the young male hunger drives him out to face the full blast of winter all of the Beavers hard work and preparation is to avoid a moment like this he’s more of a swimmer than a snowplow but lucky for him he stumbles on a small sapling [Music] it’ll hold them over for another day but spring is a long way off and he must continue the brutal hunt the wind just gets colder in the snow deeper each day he must travel further from home into the forest this time he stumbled upon a tree he had tried to cut down in the fall but got hung up on a pine tree now it might be his only hope he’s a good lumberjack but no climber he tries to skate across the frozen trunk to reach the edible twigs [Music] 10 feet up success slips away you but determined his perseverance finally pays off now it’s a waiting game with a few sticks a day and their fat reserves vanishing the pair must hang on until the end of winter come at long last there’s a sign of relief sunshine and warmth arrive at last the snow won’t vanish overnight but the worst is over the beaver family at Willow Pond gets back to the grind making repairs building edition and saying goodbye to another set of young ones as they set off into the world [Music] the pond will empty the large Aspen’s and cottonwoods will grow back and the cycle can begin again upstream at the new pond the young couple finally ventures into an unfrozen world after surviving their first winter alone on a chilly March morning they reaffirm their special bond this year they’ll be ready to have tips of their own continuing to be the busy beavers they are and awesome animal engineers they’ll build upon the work they began last year creating an entire ecosystem for a whole river valley of creatures you [Music]

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