Beavers, our con­stant wa­ter com­pan­ion

Northern Pen - - Front Page - Gary Shaw

Labrador is home to many an­i­mals, all of who must face the ex­treme el­e­ments that rep­re­sents our lo­ca­tion on the big map. Only the hardi­est can sur­vive and call Labrador their home. The ex­tremes of the long and cold win­ters that the an­i­mals must en­dure, is a chal­lenge for all, in­clud­ing us hu­mans.

We have a pop­u­la­tion of beavers in Labrador that have for eons of time sur­vived among us. These very in­dus­tri­ous an­i­mals con­tinue to be an ac­tive com­po­nent of the crea­tures among us who man­age to work out a liv­ing on the Big Land.

Beavers are among the big­gest liv­ing ro­dents on the planet. They have very thick fur, webbed feet and flat­tened, scale cov­ered tails, and large flat tails. They have pow­er­ful jaws, and ex­tremely strong teeth that leave them well adapted to fall­ing trees that they chew their way through. They use the tops of the trees for food and the big­ger parts of the trees for con­struc­tion of their lodges and their dams.

The beaver and its fur was the driv­ing force in open­ing up our coun­try. Canada was dis­cov­ered, trav­elled and mapped, in the be­gin­ning by Eu­ro­pean ad­ven­tur­ers, be­cause of the great de­mand for beaver furs. These an­i­mals are clearly a part of the his­tory and her­itage that built our coun­try. To this day, beavers are a sig­nif­i­cant com­po­nent of the mod­ern-day trap­pers’ work due to de­mand for its fur.

We carry the beaver in our lan­guage.

‘Busy as a beaver’ and an ‘ea­ger beaver’ are syn­ony­mous with be­ing in­dus­tri­ous and hard work­ing.

Beavers are ex­cel­lent swim­mers and spend sig­nif­i­cant amounts of time un­der­wa­ter. They have valves in their nose and ears that close when they are swim­ming un­der­wa­ter and a clear layer that cov­ers their eyes and pro­tects them when they are swim­ming. Their front teeth pro­trude out­wards so they don’t get wa­ter in their mouth when they are cut­ting and chew­ing on sub­merged wood.

Beavers spend most of their time build­ing dams and the lodges that they live in. The en­try to their lodge where they live and have their young is through an un­der­wa­ter en­trance.

Beavers are veg­e­tar­i­ans and eat many dif­fer­ent plant va­ri­eties that are avail­able in their re­gion. As fall ap­proaches they eat shrubs and tree­tops that they have fallen. They work dili­gently in the fall to gather shrubs and tree top branches and build a feed bed close to their lodge that will pro­vide the feed that they can ac­cess eas­ily, to get them through the win­ter.

Beavers are cer­tainly Mother Na­ture’s en­gi­neers. They seem to know ex­actly where to build their dams to get the area flooded with max­i­mum ben­e­fits, plenty of food, and a cen­tral lo­ca­tion for their lodge.

Our beavers are an eas­ily rec­og­nized sym­bol of Canada and are an ex­am­ple of the successes in life that can be achieved by sim­ply work­ing to­gether. Per­haps there may be a les­son for us from the beaver, in the value of co-op­er­a­tion and work­ing to­gether.


A beaver.

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