You asked for it…and Drew McCarthy is delivering! Join us for a closer look at North America's largest rodent. Yep, that’s right: the busy beaver is actually the second-largest rodent in the world after South America’s capybara. Rodents are an order of gnawing mammals (with Rodentia the single largest group of mammals in the world) defined by their extra-large front teeth, which the beaver employs to cut down trees and build watertight dams. Through its ingenious constructions, this amphibious mammal has had an immeasurable impact on the North American landscape. Beaver dams reduce stream erosion and form slow-moving ponds, providing aquatic habitat for dozens of other species as they literally shape and transform the ecosystem around them. From Indigenous peoples and French Canadian voyageurs to modern landscapers and wetland managers, humans have long had a love-hate relationship with the beaver. As we gain a deeper understanding of the beaver’s natural history, we'll answer this question: Are beavers master architects, or is dam construction the product of innate behavior? Join Drew for an in-depth look at this common yet extraordinary species.
Originally presented February 12, 2021
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