Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

The Naturalist's Apprentice: What's a Beaver To Do?


Objective: to learn about some of the diverse activities that make up a beaver's behavior


Materials: multiple copies of What's A Beaver To Do?


Vocabulary: behavior, consumers, producers


Comments: Animals are animals because they move around, explore, and manipulate their environment. We call these activities behavior. Why do they do this? The answer is simple: animals are not producers (like green plants), they are consumers. They cannot make their own food, so they must search out and ingest energy sources (food) to survive and reproduce. Animals literally glean a living from the environment. While the numbers and kinds of animals are enormous, their behaviors limitless, we can begin to understand how animals operate if we choose a single example, in this case the beaver, and look at the range of activities a beaver may pursue during its lifetime.



1. Introduce the subject of animal behavior with the material presented above and in Species Spotlight.


2. Distribute copies of What's A Beaver To Do? and have students circle the behaviors found within the beaver drawing that they believe are associated with beavers. The correct answers are all but the following: eats other animals, active during day, always busy, hibernates, breeds several times a year.


 3. Have groups of students choose another animal, research its behavior, and repeat the exercise.


What's A Beaver To Do?

 Animals have a large number of activities that they regularly do to survive and reproduce. These activities are called behaviors. On the drawing below, circle the behaviors you think are associated with a beaver. 


Michael Jeffords, Center for Economic Entomology.

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Subject: INHSPUB-00412
Last Modified 3/5/96


Please report any problems with or suggestions about this page to: 
Subject: INHSPUB-2151
Last Modified 3/19/96

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