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The Dam: Home of the Beaver

posted on 2013-05-08

Dams are built by beavers in order to protect themselves from other animals. They float their food and building materials through their dams. Dams are built through the night as beavers are nocturnal rodents. Beavers can have a set of dams but they will focus on one more than the other. They build their dams by carrying mud and stones with their paws and other wood materials between their teeth. 

The shape of a beaver dam usually looks like a natural hedge. Most beaver dams are 100 metres in size. The longest beaver dam recorded was 850 metres in length in Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta. If the area near the beaver dam becomes too shallow, the beaver will abandon their home. Eventually the water will drain out of the dam and other animals will use what is left of it. 

The beaver dam helps restore wetlands through flood control, water cleansing and and biodiversity. Beaver dams increase salmon runs and frog populations. Songbirds also benefit from beaver dams by the growth of plants around them.

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