Date of Award

Spring 1982

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Robert K. Rose

Committee Member

Frank P. Day

Committee Member

Gerald F. Levy


The food habits and ecology of three beaver colonies in James County, Virginia were studied. Vegetation surrounding the colonies was characterized as southern mixed hardwood forest or lowland swamp forest. Stream flow values ranged from 0.013 to 0.369 m3/sec. Water depth ranged from 0.5 60 4.0 m. Caloric value of 13 heavily used woody species ranged from 3305 to 6204 cal/g. Considerable seasonal variation was noted in most species with the lowest caloric values noted in summer. No relationship was found between caloric value and frequency of use. Fresh cutting was monitored on a weekly basis and a daily tally was made of all cut stumps. Alder, tulip poplar, red maple, white oak, bayberry, dogwood, pine, ironwood, viburnum, beech, and spicebush were heavily used. The latter three species have not been previously reported in the literature as food for beavers. Beaver were found to be active year-round, building an extensive food cache but using it only lightly.


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