Pen and Ink Sketch
Linda C. Miller, July 2010
While walking on the trail very early in the morning, my husband and I noticed bubbles in the little creek. The bubbles kept "popping" up! As we watched for a few minutes, the mystery was solved. Up popped the beaver's head.
Beavers are vegetarians and this beaver was eating the aquatic plants in the creek, creating quite a scare for the invertebrates!
Fun fact about beavers......... Beavers can stay underwater for an extraordinarily long time. At least 15 minutes at a time!
How do they do it----their heart rate drops to half its usual rate, a third eyelid call a nictitating membrane covers the eyes; similar membranes close off the ears, nostrils and throat automatically; and ..... they are able to use 75 percent of the oxygen in their lungs whereas human lungs process only 15 percent.
To learn more, I highly recommend Warner Shedd's "Owls Aren't Wise and Bats Aren't Blind", a wonderful book that debunks many common myths about our native wildlife. Also the wildlife illustrations by Trudy Nicholson are outstanding. I found this wonderful book at the Williamsburg Library!
Linda C. Miller
Artist, Naturalist and Instructor