Beavers are social animals, living in large family groups of monogamous parents, young kits, and the yearlings from the previous spring.
Amazing Facts About the Beaver
- Beavers use swimming goggles too! They possess a set of transparent eyelids which enable them to see under water.
- Beavers are second only to humans in their ability to manipulate their environment – the largest dam in existence is located in Wood Buffalo National Park, Alberta, Canada. It stretches for 850m, and is visible from space.
- Beaver homes, called lodges, are dome-like constructions built from branches and mud. They are positioned in open water for protection from predators and have underwater entrance holes.
- Beavers don’t mind the cold, they can be seen active throughout winter and maintain use of their ponds even when they are covered with a layer of ice.
- Beavers are one of the largest rodents on earth. Their large rodent teeth never stop growing. The beavers constantly gnawing on wood keeps their teeth from growing too long.
- There are two species of beaver; the North American beaver and the European beaver. Although very similar in appearance and behaviour, the two species are not genetically compatible.
- The work of beavers makes them a keystone species in maintaining habitats that are relied on by many others. As well as wetland, beavers create standing dead wood (by drowning some trees) which is inhabited by insects, and in turn attracts bird life.
- Beavers are good house guests. Their lodges typically contain two dens, one for drying off after entering the lodge under water, and a second, dryer den where the family will live and socialise.
- Beavers have been known to share their lodges with families of muskrats!
- A beaver will fell a particular tree for a particular reason; a larger mature tree will be felled to form the basis of a dam. A young, second growth tree will be felled for food. Beavers will also fell broad-leaved trees to encourage regrowth (food) more within their reach.
- Beavers use their broad, stiff tails like rudders to steer under water, and for balance while sitting on land. They also use their tails to slap the water as a warning of danger, or a warning to keep away.
- Type: Mammal
- Life span: Up to 24 years
- Size: Head and body, 60 to 100 cm; tail, 20 to 30.5 cm
- Weight: European beavers average 18 kg, North American beavers average 20 kg
- Habitat: Beavers like to live where there is water. They will burrow into the banks of rivers and lakes in temperate climates. Where there is no river or lake beavers will create their own. By felling trees and branched they will construct dams to form large ponds
- Scientific name: Castor genus