Beavers gnaw through hardwood trees by using their teeth. Being an aquatic rodent, the beaver typically gravitates toward slowly-flowing brooks that are bordered by forest and dam them using young, pole-sized (4-6 inches in diameter) hardwood trees. These ecosystem engineers dam streams to create ponds that provide them with safety from predators and spur the growth of their favorite foods like water lilies and cattails. Often beavers will also chew through or girdle much larger trees as well, like the one pictured here, in an attempt to kill them and spur the growth of younger, more palatable vegetation.
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