Our educational software is chock-full of information on organisms from around the world. In each Digital Field Trip we select representative organisms, provide information on each, then incorporate them into a major activity. With the beaver, it’s a Bog Food Web Game. (You can download a paper version of this activity by joining our Frogger Club.)
This is the beaver information, taken from The Digital Field Trip to The Wetlands program.
Beavers are one of the largest rodents in the western hemisphere and can weigh up to sixty pounds. Their hind feet, webbed like a duck’s, make them powerful swimmers. A thick underlayer of hair keeps them warm and dry. All rodents have front teeth that never stop growing.
Hunting beavers for their fine furs has led to extinction in some areas. They now have protected status in many countries.
Beavers spend most of their time in water. They can stay underwater for up to fifteen minutes.
They build a dome-shaped lodge to live in, using mud, rocks and tree branches. The lodge has entrances underwater, an internal platform above water level, and a place to store food underwater.
Beavers exert a great influence on their habitat by damming streams and creating ponds.
Beavers work hard to dam streams, thus creating ponds that won’t freeze completely during the winter. They are skillful builders; if they run out of nearby wood for the dam, they build channels to float wood into the pond from further away! They create spillways in the dam, enlarge them to cope with heavy rain and build them up again in dry periods.
Beavers stay in the lodge for most of the day, then feed at dusk.
Beavers give birth to 3-5 young in the Spring. The young are born with hair and their eyes open; they stay with their parents for up to two years.
Beavers eat water plants and the bark and leaves of trees.
Beavers are found in these areas:
Our educational software is chock-full of information on organisms from around the world that we’d like to share here as well. This is all about jaguars, taken from The Digital Field Trip to The Rainforest program.
The word “jaguar” comes from “yaguar,” meaning “he who kills with one leap.” Also known as “El Tigre,” the jaguar is the largest cat in the New World. A jaguar can be as long as 2 m (6 ft), and weigh over 140 kg (300 lbs). Its only predators are the anaconda and humans.
However, habitat loss and hunting have had a dramatic effect on jaguar populations, bringing jaguars close to extinction. The jaguar reserve in Belize is the first of its kind.
The jaguar lives in both lowland and mountain forests, by rivers, in jungles, savannas, mangrove swamps and moist forests. It prefers damp areas, tracking prey by their footprints.
Each jaguar lives alone, but home ranges frequently overlap.
The jaguar is nocturnal, stalking prey silently. Its beautiful spotted coat provides camouflage, helping it sneak up on prey. It is a good swimmer and can turn its front paws inward to help it grab prey.
Like most cats, it has good hearing and retractable claws. It can roar, but not purr, and its eyes close to circles, not slits. It has excellent sight, sees color and, at night, sees six times better than a human.
A female jaguar gives birth to two or three young after a three month pregnancy.
Offspring are born blind and helpless. They stay with their mother for one year, but do not fully mature for three years and can live up to 20 years.
The jaguar is a carnivore and hunts vertebrates. When it attacks, it pounces on the head or neck, and attempts to snap the spine.
A jaguar eats almost everything from a kill, including most of the bones. It uses its side teeth to chew, because the front teeth are normally weak.
Jaguars can be found in the following areas…