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Mammals page 3

Animal Stories: Beavers are the largest native rodent in the U.S. Although the nutria comes close in size, it is an import from Central America. Living in one of two different types of habitat, populations of beavers have developed corresponding habits. Some beavers live on the shores of lakes and large rivers. These obviously do not need to make a dam and sometimes cannot even build a lodge out in the water because of depth. These beavers live in lodges dug into the bank, with underwater tunnels leading to a huge pile of logs that sits on dry land. I once found a beaver lodge that had been damaged by a recent flood on the Kankakee River in Illinois and the pups were actually visible down in the tangle of logs. I also cornered a beaver on the shore of Town Lake in Austin, Texas. It was against a steep rock cliff and couldn't go anywhere, so it just sat and stared at me. I've never seen where its den might have been. The more familiar beaver abode is a large lodge built in a beaver-made lake on a small stream. The dams might be so large and sturdy that a person can easily walk across them, or portage a small boat over them. Since the beavers are easy to locate when they live like this, observing them is often quite rewarding as it's possible to sit on the bank and watch them gather food or work on their dam.

Fox Squirrel (Zilker Botanical Gardens, Austin, Texas)

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel (San Juan National Forest, Colorado)

Beaver (San Juan National Forest, Colorado)

Capybaras (captive at Silver Springs, Florida)

Nutria (Pedernales Falls State Park, Texas)

Clouded Leopard (zoo)

Cheetah (zoo)

Bobcat (captive at Homosassa Springs State Park, Florida)

Lion (zoo)

Tigers (zoo)

Tiger (zoo)

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