Single Parent Beaver Dad Gives a Dam
Beaver dads are often among the best in the animal kingdom, but one beaver widower who lost his long-time mate merits special attention.
"Dad," who lives in a Martinez, Calif. beaver colony, was suddenly left with three young kits to care for when his devoted partner died of an infection. They had previously raised 12 other kits together.
Heidi Perryman, president and founder of Worth a Dam, told Discovery News, "We were worried about their (the three kits') safety. Would Dad be able to provide for them and could he care for them as well as she did? Would they learn everything they needed to know without a mother?"
Their fears were understandable. Dad could only do so much in a day. He not only built the family home (his clan's lodge), but he also regularly repairs it. This is in addition to building dams, gathering food and other time-consuming duties.
He more than stepped up to the plate, though. In addition to tackling care-giving basics, he gave the kits beaver-back rides and taught them how to dive. He brought them gourmet tender new shoots for dinner.
"Dad's transition to single parent was a seamless one," Perryman said. "All three youngsters have survived to adulthood, and Dad is still at hand, showing them the finer points of dam management.
She explained that since beavers mate for life, beaver fatherhood doesn't end with breeding rights -- in fact it has just begun. When male beavers are live-trapped, frequently kits wind up in the trap too, as the families tend to be so close.
Young beavers normally leave home when they are 2-3 years old. If Dad's trio decides to move, Perryman expects that he will accompany "them to find suitable new territory," as such primo care is not uncommon in the beaver world.
"I guess it makes sense from an evolutionary perspective," she said, "since young beavers settled in adequate new homes are less likely to become a boomerang generation!"
When Mom was alive, Dad never received much onlooker attention because Mom was such a crowd favorite. She had a distinctively patterned tail that made her easily identifiable.
Dad may not have such natural tail bling, but he's now drawing fans in California. His family seems to think he's pretty amazing too.
VIDEO Single Dad Beaver Cares For Family