Beaver Clues (Animal Signatures Discovery Kit®)
Found throughout North America, beaver are one of the most widespread of all rodents. Loose chew sticks and shavings found along streams indicate their presence. The real chew sticks included in this kit vary in age (some are fresher and lighter in color, some worn and darker from being submerged), and represent different tree species, but all show the characteristic beaver gnaw marks. These are not small twigs, but rather large chew sticks that average 2-4" in diameter and 6-9" long, collected after being washed downstream. Some have bark, others don’t (beaver often eat the bark, or it may scrape off as the sticks travel downstream). This kit contains two large beaver chew sticks, a selection of beaver chew chips, a 3x magnifier for studying tooth patterns, and an activity booklet. Recommended for ages 8 and up, with adult supervision.
Introduction (from the activity booklet that comes with this kit):
The branches gnawed by beaver serve as fascinating tools for the study of beaver behavior and anatomy. They not only show the marks left by their incredibly sharp incisors, but also remind us of their remarkable feats. Beavers turn trees into food and streams into ponds. The trees they fell become lodges for housing and dams for protection from predators. Aside from people, beavers are one of only a few animals that actively modify their environment to meet their needs. Beavers are remarkable in other ways as well. They are the second largest living rodent in the world, weighing as much as 80 pounds and reaching a height of 24 inches at the shoulder. While clumsy on land, they are very comfortable in the water. Their dense, water-repellent fur traps an insulating layer of air and keeps them warm underwater. Their fur is also the primary reason for their decline in population in the late 1800s. Hunted and trapped, both the North American and Eurasian beaver were nearly eliminated throughout their ranges. Beyond the sheer loss of beaver was the effect on the ecosystem. Beaver ponds provide habitat for many wetland species, reduce erosion, and control flooding downstream. Current efforts focus on reintroducing both species into former ranges and regulating trapping. Kit contents: This kit contains two large beaver chew sticks, a selection of beaver chew chips, a 3x magnifier for studying tooth patterns, and an activity booklet.
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