Station 6 - English
Beaver Dam Station
Four-footed landscape planners
No other European wild animal shapes its environment as extensively as the beaver – primarily through the building of dams.
The beaver builds dams for a unique reason: To raise the water level of brooks or rivers enough so that the entrance to its lodge can be constructed below the surface of the water – for protection against natural enemies.
Perfect waterworks engineers
While human beings build retaining dams made of concrete, rock and earth, the beaver uses slender tree trunks, branches and twigs, skilfully interwoven and plastered with mud. The beaver also constructs small canals, if necessary, to transport its building materials.
The longest beaver dam, built by Canadian beavers, extended over 700 metres.
Experts say that human beings are unable to build such durable dams with the same materials.
Unlike dams made by human beings, beaver dams do not constitute permanent barriers to migrating water inhabitants, because they are regularly flooded by large volumes of water in the spring. Only very specialised species avoid beaver ponds for hunting or breeding.
Particularly in highland areas, where brooks have widely fluctuating water levels over the course of the year, beavers create habitats which would otherwise to a great extent be lacking. Numerous bog and water plants benefit from this, and many species of animals find good feeding areas here.
On the left side of this station is a model of a water frog that you can touch.
Above it you can learn which animal species benefit from beaver dams, and which suffer negative consequences.
Simply press the two buttons. As winners, the following light up:
• Black stork
• European otter
• Water frog
• Marsh marigold
• Marsh willowherb
• Grass snake
• Golden-ringed dragonfly