We drink water with flouride added to help strengthen our teeth.
You've probably been to the dentist and had flouride treatments that taste like bubble gum.
You brush your teeth with toothpaste that has flouride in it, and maybe you even use mouthwash to help strengthen your enamel.
Beavers don't have to do any of that, and they still have strong teeth --- strong enough to chew right through a tree.
Why is that?
Beavers chew through trees, shrubs and branches and then drag those to their dams and lodges. They chew fast and are able to fell an 8-foot tree in only five minutes.
Beavers don't have the most beautiful teeth. In fact, they have dark orange teeth, because their teeth have a different chemical makeup than human teeth. Beaver teeth have thick enamel on the front side that contain iron, keeping the teeth strong. In fact, a study by Northwestern University looked at how humans could improve their teeth using information from beaver teeth.
In addition to being strong, beaver teeth also need to be very sharp to chew through wood, and they need to stay sharp. Think of a knife or an ax. When you use it to chop hard items many times, that sharp blade dulls and needs to be sharpened. Beaver teeth also need to be sharpened as they dull down, but they don't have a knife sharpener. Instead, beaver teeth are self-sharpening.
On the front a beaver tooth is the hard enamel with the iron. The inside of the tooth is softer and wears away as the beaver gnaws, so that leaves a sharp edge of tough enamel. It's like they have a built-in knife sharpener.
However, that constant need to sharpen their teeth means that beavers also need their teeth to keep growing. Human teeth don't grow continuously, because we don't need them to. Beavers are constantly wearing down their teeth, so their teeth are constantly growing.
Looking at a wetland in the Iowa Great Lakes, you might see ripples coming from a moving little dot. Muskrats are adorable creatures that can glide through the water because of their dense fur that traps air for insulation and buoyancy, and they are very active this time of year. Let’s take a look at Read More »
Although creatures in the weasel family are often just called weasels, they are actually split up into a variety of species. You might be seeing an ermine, otherwise known as a stoat or short-tailed weasel, (Mustela erminea), the least weasel (Mustela nivalis) or a mink (Mustela vison). If you see one, though, how do you Read More »
We often get the question, “Do ospreys mate for life?” The answer isn’t quite clear. In general, yes, they do. However, they aren’t above choosing a new mate if theirs is not longer able to reproduce or is sick or injured. Like humans are considered monogamous but sometimes change partners, osprey do the same thing. Read More »
Check out the trumpeter swans on the wetland year-round with our live web camera. Click here. You can also find more videos on our Videos page or watch what Teddy the turtle eats here.