Quiz about How Weird The Mountain Beaver
Quiz about How Weird The Mountain Beaver

How Weird- The Mountain Beaver Quiz


All about one of the strangest animals in the world.

A multiple-choice quiz by crisw. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
crisw
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
260,647
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Difficult
Avg Score
4 / 10
Plays
1766
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Well, this critter is called a "mountain beaver." So, obviously, it must live primarily in mountainous areas.

True
False

2. Where would I find a mountain beaver? Hint

The Himalayas
The Swiss Alps
The Rocky Mountains
The Pacific Northwest

3. And, since it's called a mountain *beaver*," I can guess what it looks like- right? Which of these describes its appearance best? Hint

An overgrown hamster
A medium-sized rodent with webbed feet
A large rodent with a wide, paddle-shaped tail
A small rodent with a paddle-shaped tail and large incisors

4. The scientific name of the mountain beaver is Aplodontia rufa. What does this mean? Hint

Rough lacking-teeth
Rough multiple-feet
Red missing-feet
Red simple-tooth

5. Well, we said the mountain beaver was weird. Let's start talking about weirdness. The mountain beaver is one of the oldest rodent species known, dating back 40 million years. As such, it has a primitive physiology. Which is NOT one of its primitive characteristics? Hint

It cannot pant or sweat
It has a low reproductive rate
Its kidneys are so inefficient that it must drink 20% of its weight every day to flush them
It has sparse, rough hair

6. What is the main diet of the mountain beaver? Hint

Bark and cambium
Mushrooms and truffles
Insects
Ferns, herbs and shoots

7. The mountain beaver has the largest _______________ of any mammal. Hint

Fleas
Home range
Incisors
Cheek pouches

8. Where would you be most likely to find a mountain beaver? Hint

In an alpine meadow
In a burrow
Up a tree
In a pond

9. The mountain beaver is often confused with another strange little mammal, the pika. Which is NOT a way that they are alike? Hint

Both have a name that refers to their noisiness
Both are rodents
Both dry plants for food
Both are nearly tailless

10. According to molecular evidence, which rodents are most closely related to the mountain beaver? Hint

Porcupines
Beavers
Squirrels
Gophers


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Well, this critter is called a "mountain beaver." So, obviously, it must live primarily in mountainous areas.

Answer: False

Mountain beavers live in moist areas throughout their range. Most such habitat is not mountainous. In fact, they are much more common in lowland deciduous forests.
2. Where would I find a mountain beaver?

Answer: The Pacific Northwest

The mountain beaver is found from Point Reyes along the California coast and inland to the Sierra Nevadas, then northward to British Columbia. Most of the California subspecies are rare or endangered; mountain beavers are most common in Washington and Oregon.
3. And, since it's called a mountain *beaver*," I can guess what it looks like- right? Which of these describes its appearance best?

Answer: An overgrown hamster

Mountain beavers look something like 4-pound brown hamsters with tiny, squinty eyes and tiny vestigial tails. Personally, I think they look like wombats. They look nothing like beavers and do not have webbed feet.
4. The scientific name of the mountain beaver is Aplodontia rufa. What does this mean?

Answer: Red simple-tooth

The mountain beaver can be reddish-brown in color (but not red!) and has teeth that are less complex than many other rodents, yet another sign of its primitiveness.
5. Well, we said the mountain beaver was weird. Let's start talking about weirdness. The mountain beaver is one of the oldest rodent species known, dating back 40 million years. As such, it has a primitive physiology. Which is NOT one of its primitive characteristics?

Answer: It has sparse, rough hair

Mountain beavers bear only 2-4 young every year, unlike the huge litters produced many times a year by most rodents. To help compensate for this, they have a long lifespan- 5 or even 10 years in the wild.

Since they cannot pant or sweat, and must drink so much water, they are restricted to cool, moist environments.
6. What is the main diet of the mountain beaver?

Answer: Ferns, herbs and shoots

Ferns are the favorite food of the mountain beaver; a preference shared by very few other animals. Salal and salmonberry are also favorites. Mountain beavers sometimes damage planted conifer seedlings when their food sources are wiped out by intensive forestry practices.

Mountain beavers dry a large amount of plant material for winter food, then store it in their burrows.
7. The mountain beaver has the largest _______________ of any mammal.

Answer: Fleas

Hystricopsylla schefferi, found only on mountain beavers, is over 1/3 of an inch long! Nine other species of fleas are found on mountain beavers- four are unique to the species. These creatures have co-evolved for millions of years, and the fleas found on mountain beavers are as primitive as the critter itself.

The range of the mountain beaver is tiny- only 1/3rd of an acre to 3 acres, depending on the richness of the food supply- and it does not have cheek pouches or particularly large incisors, as rodents go.
8. Where would you be most likely to find a mountain beaver?

Answer: In a burrow

Mountain beavers spend most of their lives in extensive tunnel systems, with separate chambers for bedrooms, pantries and latrines. They keep rocks in their tunnels, called "mountain beaver baseballs," which they use both to sharpen their teeth and to block off unused tunnels.

Mountain beavers do not climb trees well and do not live in alpine meadows. Although, due to their large drinking water requirements, they usually live near water, they do not often swim.
9. The mountain beaver is often confused with another strange little mammal, the pika. Which is NOT a way that they are alike?

Answer: Both are rodents

The pika really does live in the mountains- but it's a member of the rabbit family, not a rodent. Like the mountain beaver, it dries plants for a winter food supply.

The pika is named for its alarm call- "pi-ka." One of the names of the mountain beaver is "boomer," although research has shown it does not make the booming noise once attributed to it.

And yes, Pikachu is named after the pika. As far as I know, there are no mountain beaver cartoon characters yet...
10. According to molecular evidence, which rodents are most closely related to the mountain beaver?

Answer: Squirrels

The DNA evidence shows that squirrels split off from the mountain beaver lineage approximately 35 million years ago. So squirrels are distant cousins- but still closer than any other rodents.
Source: Author crisw

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