A large dam of carefully laid sticks blocked off a small pool of water and blocked the children’s pathway.
“Wow, we found a beaver’s house!” Mandi climbed to the bank, her jeans soaked up to the knees from her trek through the river. She bent down to examine it closer.
Around her, the thick trees along the bank were chewed off like sharply pointed spears standing as a vertical forest.
“Look!” Matt had startled a beaver that had been hiding behind one of the trees and it sprinted away diving deep into the river, into his home. “Did you see that thing?”
"It was fast!"
Dr. Carl Baugh joined Mandi and Matt on the riverbank. “Beavers are a very important part of God’s creation, and when they were created, God gave them features that allow them to live perfectly in their semi-aquatic environment.”
“What does semi-aquatic mean?”
Dr. Baugh: “It means that beavers live near water and spend a lot of their time in water. They build dams, change the path of streams by digging spillways and build lodges underwater to keep them warm in winter. Beavers are mammals and they have to hold their breaths underwater, but they can hold it for 15 minutes, long enough to swim at least half-a-mile!”
Dr. Baugh: “Beavers have large lungs and livers which store large amounts of air that their bodies can use while they are submerged.”
“That’s neat! Do they have anything else on their bodies that help them while they are underwater?”
Dr. Baugh: “Oh yes. When you go underwater you like to wear goggles so that you can see while you protect your eyes from anything in the water. Well, beavers have natural goggles, see-through eyelids that they close when they go underwater to protect their eyes!
Also, beavers have valves in their ears and noses which automatically close when they submerge so that no water is allowed in. These valves reopen automatically when they get out of the water.
“Do beavers have webbed feet?”
Dr. Baugh: “Only on their back feet. Their rear feet are like a duck’s and they help them speed through water. When they change direction, they lift a large paddle-shaped tail up in the water and steer like a boat. They also have an inner claw with split toenails that they use to comb and oil their waterproof fur. Their front paws are smaller and are used to carry wood and mud and to dig tunnels.
“How did that beaver cut all these trees like this? They look like rows of sharpened pencils.”
Dr. Baugh: “It chopped the trees down with its teeth! A beaver’s mouth has many helpful characteristics. Beavers have two very hard, reddish-colored enamel covered incisors in the front of their mouths. These teeth sharpen as they chew wood and help hold the chopped wood in the mouth while they haul it back to the water. Inside the mouth, two flaps of skin meet behind these front teeth to seal off the rest of the mouth while the beaver chews underwater.”
“Beavers sure are interesting creatures. They have so many things on their bodies that help them survive and live the way they do.”
Dr. Baugh: “Some people say that beavers evolved all of those features one by one, but each one is necessary for the beaver to be so successful at living in its watery environment, it could not survive as it does if it was not born with the perfect combination already fully usable.
You can learn a lesson from the beaver: Use what God gave you to succeed in life and when you learn how complex your own features are, remember you were created as a unique creature by a very smart and loving Creator!”
Written by Mandi Roberts