What Eats Beavers? What Do Beavers Eat?
For thousands of years, the North American beaver’s main predator was the wolf. Then European-Amercan settlers came along and nearly wiped out both the wolf and the beaver. Wolves were killed because people thought they would eat livestock, while beavers were trapped relentlessly for their beautiful fur, which was used to make luxurious coats and hats.
In recent decades, beaver trapping has abated, and beavers have returned to many of their former habitats. Wolves also have come back in a few areas—but most places where beavers now live remain free of wolves. As a result, the beaver population has continued to increase, limited only by the availability of favorable living space along streams, lakes, and ponds that are surrounded by hardwood forests.
Other animals that eat beavers include cougars, bobcats, and coyotes. In addition, little beavers are sometimes taken by eagles, hawks, and owls.
As for what beavers eat—they do not eat the hard, dense wood in the large trees they sometimes gnaw down. They instead like to browse on the tender bark, buds, and juicy smaller twigs of very young trees. One of the reasons they fell big trees is so that the remaining tree stumps will begin sprouting tasty shoots, which the beavers then can feast on. (Another reason they take down trees is to use their branches as building material to make beaver dams and lodges.)
In summer, beavers vary their diet with berries and leaves, as well as by grazing.