Beavers are large, brown animals[1] with broad tails, tiny black eyes, and curved front teeth.[2] They are notably much larger and stronger than cats, and they can chew apart wood and swim easily in water.[3]

Beavers live in wooden lodges built on streams,[4] and create dams in the same area. They were what blocked the stream running to the lake, causing it to run dry. [5]

Description

Beavers are mostly aquatic animals and are also the largest animal from the rodent group in North America. Unlike other animals, male and female beavers weigh about the same amount, their mass ranging from 13 to 32 kg (28.6 to 70.4 lbs). Their length is also relatively the same, varying from 0.9m to 1.1 m (35.43 to 46.06 in).[6]
One of the most notable features of the beaver is the size of the skull and the teeth. These are both disproportionately large, but contribute greatly to the main job of the beaver: cutting wood. The upper incisors of the beaver are bright orange, and are at least 5 mm wide and 20-25 mm long, though they can be greater.[6] These teeth grow throughout the beaver's lifetime, as they are constantly being worn down by the cutting of wood. It has twenty teeth in total.[7] When a new beaver is born, it is about 38 cm long and 250 to 600 grams. The average life cycle of a beaver varies from 10 to 20 years, though predators or disease can make it even less.[6]
The most distinguishing characteristic of a beaver is usually the broad, flat tail. This extraordinary tail can grow to 10 inches or longer, and can be 3/4 inches thick. It is covered in scales for hardness and helps the beaver slap its tail in the water or steady itself when cutting down trees.[7] The beaver also has a waterproof skin, rich and glossy to help it repel water. The color can be reddish brown or blackish brown. Beavers also have hairs underneath that are much finer and help it keep warm in cold conditions. They also have longer hind legs than front legs, helping in swimming.[6] Their toes are also webbed, another useful adaptation for swimming. Its toes end in claws, helping the beaver comb its fur.[7]
Beavers are social creatures, and live in groups called colonies.[8]. They are generally non-aggressive creatures,[9] but are hostile when their colonies are attacked or threatened, having been known to attack dogs, foxes, cats, and humans to protect their territories and colonies.[10]

Relation to Clan cats

Beavers are shown to be both inquisitive of cats,[11] and also aggressive if provoked.[12] If provoked, they are able to kill a cat with their sharp front teeth.[13] They do no block water out of malicious intent, instead, they build their dams in order to create a pool of water to build their dens off of. These dens are known as lodges.[14] Due to this, they had unknowingly blocked water from the lake, resulting in it drying up.[15]

History

In the Omen of the Stars arc

The Fourth Apprentice

Dovepaw mentions beavers to be the reason the stream has dried up, confusing her Clanmates. She tries to explain herself, but the warriors brush it off as something made up and dismiss the idea, leaving the young cat frustrated.
At the next Gathering, Firestar brings the suggestion to send a patrol upstream to see if something is blocking the water. The idea is met by some caution by the gathered cats and scrutiny by Leopardstar, but the decision is made to send a patrol consisting of two cats from each Clan to find the water. The patrol of chosen cats consists of Lionblaze, Dovepaw, Whitetail, Sedgewhisker, Toadfoot, Tigerheart, Petalfur, and Rippletail, chosen from each of the Clans. From the edge of ShadowClan territory, they head off in search of the brown creatures that Dovepaw had seen.
The patrol of cats encounter a loner named Woody, who tells them that the Twolegs near them worry more about the beavers than cats. The tom also explains that they are large and mean animals and is confused by Toadfoot's question about fighting them, wondering why any cat would want to. Rippletail explains their quest to the loner as Lionblaze asks him for his help. Woody tells them that they have bees in their brains, but agrees to show them where the beaver's dam is located and that once they see it, they'll change their minds about their plan to release the trapped water. The loner also reveals that the Twolegs had brought the beavers with them.
Woody leads the patrol down the valley to the beaver den, blocking the stream. Dovepaw notes that the den is large as it is composed of large logs and mud. Petalfur and Rippletail dive in the collected water behind the structure and as they do, a pair of beavers spot them. The patrol panic and run to escape the beavers, but the two animals watch the cats from the riverbank.
The Clan cats devise a plan to defeat the beavers. They attempt to pull the logs from the dam down and agree that if the beavers try to stop them, they will fight. However, the beavers quickly overwhelm the cats as they protect their territory. Lionblaze calls the retreat as the fighting becomes pointless. As they escape, Rippletail is attacked viciously and dies due to his wounds. Following their failure, the patrol decides to not fight the beavers again and instead try to dismantle the dam without any further casualties.
They enlist the help of the kittypets they had crossed paths with earlier and begin their task that night. Whitetail, Woody, and Sedgewhisker draw the beavers from their den so the other cats can begin destroying the dam. One beaver takes the bait and soon the others follow as the three cats begin leading them away. Petalfur and Toadfoot split away from the group to find a way inside the beaver's den. The two warriors discover a way in and a possible way to make the den collapse. The group works as quickly as possible to remove as many sticks and twigs to weaken the structure. However, yowling catches them all off guard as Whitetail, Sedgewhisker, and Woody appear, racing across the top of the den with the beavers lumbering behind them.
After dismantling the dam, the patrol of cats return to the lake. In ThunderClan, Dustpelt asks Dovepaw and Lionblaze about the beavers and how to fight them in case they appear in the territory.

See also

Notes and references

  1. Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, pages 69-70
  2. Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, pages 218-219
  3. Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, page 77
  4. Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, page 70
  5. Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, page 216
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Information retrieved from animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Information retrieved from library.thinkquest.org
  8. Information from NatureWorks.org.
  9. Information from animals.mom.me.
  10. Information from wikipedia.org.
  11. Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, page 218
  12. Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, page 227
  13. Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, page 233
  14. Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, pages 216-217
  15. Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, page 105
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