Beavers are the second largest subaquatic rodents in the world after the Capybarus. They are in the genus Castor. They are native to the Northern Hemisphere. Although they are semiaquatic, they prefer their aquatic life because they love to eat soft water plants. Beavers are known for building dams out of sticks and grass to mark their territory which are called 'beaver dams'. Also, they use scent marking to mark their territory. There are two species of beavers, the North American beaver and the Eurasian beaver.
A beaver's fur has long shiny guard hairs which repel water and they have a thick, soft, large undercover which keeps them warm in water and during the winter. Their tail is wide, flat and paddle-shaped. Their teeth are large and sharp. They are so large that a beaver can cut through an 8 ft tree in just 15 minutes. Their strong teeth grow continuously throughout their life. Beavers are called 'engineers of the rodent world' because they build their own homes and are known for their dam building. Their homes are called 'beaver lodges'. In winter, the main elements of these homes i.e. the sticks, mud, and logs are bound together due to the cold making it extremely difficult for predators to invade these lodges. Beavers can be found in large ponds, lakes, and rivers in North America. They can also be found in Europe and Asia.
Freshwater bodies like lakes, ponds, streams, and marshes
Beaver Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a beaver?
Beavers are rodents. There are two species of beavers. One kind is a North American beaver and the other kind is a Eurasian beaver.
What class of animal does a beaver belong to?
Beavers belong to the Mammal class as they give birth to their babies and feed them milk. They also have fur on their bodies.
How many beavers are there in the world?
The population of North American beavers has dropped heavily. The beaver population, which at one point in time was estimated to be at 60 million, has drastically fallen over the past few years. Today their population is estimated to be at around six to 10 million.
Where does a beaverlive?
Beavers live in small ponds, lakes, rivers, marshes, streams, and adjacent wetland areas.
What is a beaver's habitat?
Beavers can be found in ponds and lakes throughout North America. Beavers build water dams with sticks, grass, and mud. These are called 'beaver dams'. By doing this, beavers prevent water from flowing and they create an island using mud and sticks. This is called 'a lodge'. These lodges are the most secure and safe place for their colony. They raise their kits in these lodges and so, they do not let anyone or any animal come near. When the temperature drops, the mud, stick and grass freeze together and create a strong barrier. This is why many predators have trouble penetrating the lodge, allowing beavers and their babies to stay safe. Also, they build underwater entrances to help keep them safe because if a predator attacks them when they are outside of the dam, beavers can escape through these underwater passages.
Who does a beaver live with?
Beavers have families and all family members live together. Around eight or 10 families live together. These families are called 'colonies'.
How long does a beaver live?
Beavers can live up to 10 to 15 years in the wild but in captivity, where they are taken good care of, they can live up to 20 years.
How do they reproduce?
Beavers are usually monogamous. That means they have one mate for life. They reproduce sexually. When two beavers find each other, they stay together for their entire life. The only time they find a new mate is when their current mate dies. Beavers mate by means of sexual intercourse. January and February is the mating season for beavers.
What is their conservation status?
Beavers are not an extinct animal yet but the population of American beavers has dropped significantly over the years. In the past, beavers were calculated to have a population of around 60 million but this number has fallen to around six to 10 million.
Beaver Fun Facts
What does a beaver look like?
Beavers are well-known for their tails. Their tail is wide and flat. It is used for slapping the surface of the water to warn other beavers in their colony. Their tails are scaled. Beavers have a thick reddish-brown and black fur, small eyes, and tiny, round ears. They are not so good on land but they are elegant in the water. They can catch a speed of up to 4 mph (7kph) in water with the help of their large webbed back feet and their paddle-shaped tail. They can remain underwater for 15 minutes with only one breath, and they have a set of transparent membranes in front of their eyes that work like glasses while they are in the water. Their fur is oily and waterproof so they stay dry most of the time.
How cute are they?
Beavers are really cute animals. They are gentle and very affectionate creatures.
How do they communicate?
Beavers use vocalization and body language to communicate with other beavers. Some beavers just slap their tail in the water to communicate.
How big is a beaver?
There are only two species of beaver. North American beavers (Castor canadensis) weigh 11-30 lb (5-14 kg) and are 23-39 in (100-120 cm) long. The length of their tail is 7.75-12 in (20-30.5 cm).
These specifications pertaining to their size are also the same for Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber). They usually weigh between 29-77 lb (13-35 kg) and are 29-53 in (73-135 cm) in length, according to the Animal Diversity Web (ADW) at the University of Michigan. Their tails are small and their heads are smaller than that of a North American beaver.
How fast can a beaver run?
Beavers are slow on land but quick in the water. Beavers are skillful swimmers. They can reach up to 4 mph (7 kph) if they are alarmed.
How much does a beaver weigh?
North American beavers (Castor canadensis) weigh 11-30 lb (5-14 kg). Eurasian Beavers (Castor fiber) are around the same size. They usually weigh between 29-77 lb (13-35 kg).
What are the male beaver and female beaver called?
There are no special names for male beavers or female beavers.
What would you call a baby beaver?
Baby beavers are called 'kits'.
What do they eat?
Beavers eat the buds, stems, bark, and twigs of trees. There are some particular types of tree bark and buds which they enjoy the most. Their favorite trees are maple, birch, black alder, willow, aspen, and black cherry. Some of their other favorite snacks are really soft plant-like grasses and roots of some water plants.
Are they dangerous?
Beavers are not dangerous if we leave them alone and don't disturb their habitat. If they feel threatened about their kits or are confined and worried, then beavers will cause damage to a human by using their sharp, strong front teeth. Parasites and rabies can be found in their teeth which can transfer to humans if they bite you. This can cause an infection. Their family bonding is strong and they will attack anyone who wants to harm their kits. They send a warning by growling before attacking any animal or human. A beaver stands up on its webbed hind feet when it faces a threat. If there is a threat in the water they slap their tail to alert the colony.
Would they make a good pet?
Many surveys prove that young beavers have been kept as pets for centuries. Beavers may look cute but they are wild animals and that's why they should not be kept as pets.
Did you know...
Beaver dams raise the water table in the mineral soil environment. Beavers are the only animal that makes underwater entrances for the safety of their home which is in the water.
Beavers have been hunted for their fur, meat, and castoreum. Medicine, perfume, and food flavoring are made from castoreum while beaver fur has been traded for centuries because the fur is so dense and thick, allowing beavers to bear the cold during the winter without any worry.
Beavers have one premolar and three molars on each side of their upper and lower jaws. They have 20 teeth in total. Their teeth are covered in enamel which contains rich iron. It works as a protective coating.
International Beaver Day is celebrated on April 7.
A recent discovery in 2012 says that a beaver lodge can last for centuries. According to this discovery, a beaver lodge in California dates back for more than 1000 years.
Is a beaver considered a rodent?
Yes, beavers are considered a rodent. In fact, in North America, these rodents are considered to be among the largest rodents. Globally they are regarded as being the second-largest rodents after the Capybara.
Where does the beaver originate from?
The only survivors of the Castoridae family are modern beavers. They originated in North America and then spread to Eurasia via the Bering Land Bridge. There are some scientists who believe that modern beavers evolved from an ancient animal called Dipoides. The Eurasian beaver is native to Britain and used to be common in England, Wales, and Scotland. Beavers are known as a 'keystone species' because of their continuous positive influence on the environment.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including stoat, or coati.
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