What Do Beavers Eat?
Last Updated on February 8, 2022 by
When you catch a glimpse of beavers felling trees, you may have wondered if they eat the wood as they go. However, beavers do in fact eat many different types of plants.
So, what do beavers actually eat? What are their favorite foods? Are there any foods they won’t eat?
Keep reading to find out more!
What Is A Beaver’s Favorite Food?
Beavers do not tend to pick and choose, they will eat lots of different foods depending on what’s available to them. They prefer the leaves and bark of certain trees, but they also enjoy soft-fiber plants as well.
No matter what region, beavers will often favor the leaves and bark of aspen and poplar trees more than anything else. Both of these trees grow widespread near water sources in most habitats where beavers start their colonies.
As well as aspen and poplar, beavers will also eat leaves and twigs off many trees such as willow, black cherry, cottonwood, birch, and alder.
However, beavers don’t just limit their taste buds to leaves and bark. According to the National Park Service, beavers also enjoy a wide variety of softer plants such as clover, water lily tubers, grass, ferns, ragweed, cattails, and even some mushrooms.
If food becomes scarce, beavers may even resort to eating human crops such as corn and beans. As you can imagine, this may cause problems if a colony of beavers lives near a farm or orchard, especially during periods of drought.
What Do Beavers Drink?
As with any animal, beavers need plenty of water to survive.
Since beavers live in and around water sources, they usually have a substantial amount of water always available to them. They will also drink from their own ponds or other nearby water sources as needed.
Beavers will also get small amounts of water from eating fruit, leaves or anything that has recently been rained on. Gnashing through wet wood might also supply them with small fractions of their daily water intake.
Do Beavers Eat Apples?
Beavers do in fact enjoy eating apples and like to chew on apple tree wood and bark. Apple and cherry trees are some of their favorite go-to trees in the absence of aspen and poplar.
If you have an orchard near a beaver colony, you might begin to notice damage to trees, stipped limbs, and fruit going missing. To remove beavers from your areas, you need to catch them and release them somewhere else.
Use apples, apple, or cherry leaves or bark to bait the beavers towards live animal traps.
Do Beavers Eat Fish?
Although beavers live in and around water where fish would be a likely source of food, they don’t in fact eat fish. They are herbivores so they prefer a wide variety of plant foods over other types of animals, including fish.
However, there are rare occasions when beavers pose a threat to the local fish population.
Beavers might impact fish migrational patterns in some areas. If a beaver dam is built along a certain species’ migration route, the fish might not be able to get through, which in turn can decrease the species’ population by affecting its reproductive habits.
Do Beavers Eat Other Animals?
As previously mentioned, beavers are herbivores which means they do not eat animals of any kind.
Essentially, beavers are large rodents and are hunted, not hunters. They have a range of natural predators including bears, wolves, wolverines. alligators, coyotes, and even hawks.
Although beavers are hunted by the largest carnivorous animals, the exact predators they face will depend on the region they live in.
The good news for beavers is that they can quickly escape at the first sign of danger and their lodges, dams and vast networks of underwater tunnels provide them with multiple places to escape to.
Do Beavers Eat Wood?
The most common misconception about beavers is that they eat wood whenever they chew through trees and tree branches.
The actual truth is that beavers don’t eat the wood itself, but they eat a substance on the surface of the wood called cambium. The cambium produces a covering layer on the wood from which new wood and bark grow.
Despite this, beavers will still consume small amounts of wood when they eat bark and twigs off trees.
However, when chewing through larger branches, the beaver will allow for wood pieces to fall from its mouth so it does not have to digest any wood.
Through this article, you should have learned that beavers enjoy eating leaves, twigs, and bark from various deciduous trees, especially aspen and poplar. They also enjoy soft plant foods such as clover, cattails, shrubs, apples, and even beans and corn.
Beavers are herbivores, so they do not eat fish or other animals. They also don’t eat wood, regardless of what it might look like when they are chewing on trees.