Beavers surviving in the wilderness
Beavers never adopted physical features like sharp claws, canine teeth or speed to deal with predators. Animals that will hunt out the beaver are the wolf, bobcats, bears, cougars, foxes, coyotes, wolverines, martins, otters and dogs. Against the smaller predators adult beavers can put up a formidable defense in and out of the water with four large incisor teeth, a thick hide and body fat. They can see off otters, martins, some bobcats and dogs. Kits and yearlings have very little chance against these predators so the beaver has evolved using its habitat more than most other animals to survive against would be meat eaters looking for an easy meal. Wolves often cover much ground in their territory hunting. It is believed 20% of their food comes from eating the beaver. Wolves are known to climb on top of beaver lodges to gain entry through the ventilation holes where beaver breath can be seen from a distance. The lodges are built in such a way that the frozen woven tree matter plastered with mud gives the wolf little if any change of getting inside. Beavers are most vulnerable in early spring when they are hungry from a long winter inside the lodge. Seeking out fresh food the beaver may have to travel further to feed leaving themselves much more exposed. With the use of bank dens, plunge holes and canals, the beaver is always close to the water - its best defense from land animals. The biggest cause of death for the beaver are diseases and starvation, natural accidents from sudden rises in water from snow melts causing mud flows, dams and lodges getting over run with floating debris trapping beavers underwater. Beavers most common disease is tularemia also known as deer-fly fever and rabbit fever which are transmitted mostly by ticks and deer-flies. This often leads to epidemics for beavers and other animals in the waters that surround the affected animal. The beaver becomes lethargic and loses weight before dying. Humans are still the beavers biggest predator through trapping. With a low demand for fur in the fashion industry they are still trapped as a nuisance factor to land owners, townships, orchards, lakes and trout streams. For the most part, today the beaver has a long mortality rate. The kits have the hardest chance of survival in their species falling victims to birds such as hawks and owls. In the water, muskellunge and pike, once the beaver reaches adulthood its chances of survival become better.