A young moose and a beaver live side by side in this clip from the BBC documentary A Moose Name Madeline. More from The University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1989:
“Beaver and moose both eat deciduous trees, but moose like shrub-sized plants, while beaver prefer good-sized aspens that provide both food and building material.
“When a beaver colony moves into an area, the animals quickly harvest the larger aspens. Cut aspens send up shoots from their roots; shoots too small to interest the beavers, but perfect moose salad. With the big trees now gone, more sun is available for shrubs and saplings to start growing, and these too provide fine moose food.”
“So far so good–for both kinds of animals. The moose don’t eat what beaver prefer, and their munching on the competing shrubbery can make it easier for aspens to grow to a healthy size. In return, the beaver’s hard work leads to better browse for the moose…
“So, just possibly, moose and beaver are good for one another, as long as there are the right numbers of each relative to the habitat.”
In the archives: More beavers, moose, and a few other symbiotic relationships.
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