Different foraging preferences by beavers (Castor canadensis) at two distinct sites in northern lower Michigan.
AbstractBeavers (Castor canadensis) considerably alter the wetlands they inhabit and the neighboring uplands. Their strong influence on their habitat make them an interesting subject to study behavioral patterns. Based on their central place foraging behavior, beavers are ideal organisms from which patterns of optimal foraging can be investigated. This study examined foraging patterns in beavers at two natural habitats of beavers in northern lower Michigan. The size and species of tree that beavers preferred were examined as well as preferred distance from the shore to forage. A significant difference was found among foraging frequencies of different trees species. At one site, the preferred species of tree was Populus tremuloides and at the second site, a preference for Acer saccharum was found. The differences were less significant in tests of near/far foraging and size variation in foraging due to distance. No difference was found in foraging location, nor difference in size variation due to distance from the water. The lack of statistical difference was likely due to small sample size and composition of trees at the sampling locations. Difference in tree preference is demonstrated and this preference affects the abundance and distribution of the trees in the beavers' habitat.
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