Habitat

Habitats used by mountain beavers vary, but are typically forests with dense patches of herbs and shrubs. This vegetation supplies not only forage, but also security and thermal cover. On forested slopes, mountain beaver are frequently found in thickets of diverse vegetation near streams. In closed canopy forests, mountain beaver tend to be associated with canopy gaps created by disturbances such as root-rot and windfall. These openings allow light to penetrate the forest and promote growth of herbs and shrubs. The fallen trees form the main structures beneath which mountain beaver construct tunnels and runways to access foraging sites in their home range. Mountain beavers readily occupy early seral stages after logging as long as there is sufficient cover and food.

The mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa) relies heavily on its sense of smell and touch. (Photo by V. B. Scheffer/Mammal Images Library of the American Society of Mammalogists.)

A mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa) emerging from its burrow. (Photo by Joseph Van Wormer. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

The mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa) relies heavily on its sense of smell and touch. (Photo by V. B. Scheffer/Mammal Images Library of the American Society of Mammalogists.)

A mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa) emerging from its burrow. (Photo by Joseph Van Wormer. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

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