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The BeaverIts Life and Impact$
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Dietland Muller-Schwarze

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450105

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450105.001.0001

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Finding a Home

Finding a Home

Dispersal

Chapter:
(p.110) Chapter 12 Finding a Home
Source:
The Beaver
Author(s):

Dietland Müller-Schwarze

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801450105.003.0012

This chapter provides an overview of beaver dispersal. There are a number of reasons why beavers have to disperse from their native family. As a relatively long-lived species, beavers produce 3–4 newborns every year. If the young stay with their parents and siblings, the colony would grow huge in a few years and soon outstrip its food resources. More importantly, grown-up offpring must find mates to start reproducing themselves. Mating with close relatives would often result in disastrous genetic defects, a phenomenon called inbreeding depression. This chapter discusses the risks that come with dispersal and explains how natural dispersal differs from translocation and homing. It also considers the age at which beavers usually leave their family, along with the timing, direction, distance, and duration of dispersal.

Keywords:   beaver, dispersal, inbreeding depression, translocation, homing, genetic defect

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