Dams, Lodges, Trails, and Canals
This chapter explains how and why beavers build infrastructure such as dams, lodges, trails, and canals. Beavers build one or several dams to impound water along streams. The impoundment keeps the lodge entrances under water, which allows logs and branches to float and beavers to dive to safety as well as travel to feeding areas. The lodge is the focal point of a beaver colony. It is the principal shelter for the family, providing protection from cold, heat, and predators. Here the beavers rest, sleep, mate, bear the young, and rear them. The lodge insulates the beavers extremely well from outside temperatures. Wherever beavers repeatedly forage away from water, they wear down vegetation and create trails. On more or less level ground, well-worn trails will fill with water. Beavers further improve these incipient canals: they dredge up mud and deposit it at the banks of these channels.
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