The beaver is a large, semi-aquatic rodent. It is the second-largest living rodent in the world, after the capybara. The North American beavers are known as the largest rodents in North America.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at these interesting animals and explore some of the things you need to know if you encounter one. Beavers are typically shy around humans, but with a little knowledge, you can enjoy watching these amazing animals in their natural habitat! Keep reading!
How Big Do Beavers Grow?
Beavers can grow up to 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 meters) long and weigh up to 65 pounds (29 kilograms).
The tail of the beaver is round in shape and ranges from 2 to 5 inches (5 to 12.7 centimeters) thick at the base and tapers to 0.24 inches (0.6 centimeters) at the tip. The heaviest known beaver weighs 110 pounds (50 kg).
Why Are Beavers Important?
Beavers are important because they provide many ecosystem services. Beavers are famous for building dams in streams and rivers to create ponds. These ponds provide a habitat for sensitive plants and many animal species, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. The ponds also help to filter water and improve water quality.
Do Beavers’ Teeth Grow Forever?
Yes, beaver teeth continue to grow throughout their lives. This is why they must always chew on things – it wears down their teeth. Otherwise, their teeth would get too long, and they wouldn’t be able to eat.
The teeth of the beaver are like chisels that can chew up a 5-inch diameter tree in 60 seconds.
Food/ Eating Habits
The beaver is a herbivore. Beavers eat bark, leaves, and twigs of willow, poplar, and aspen trees. During the summer and fall, beavers spend time in dam building and stockpiling foods for future use. In winter, the beaver’s diet consists of these trees’ buds and inner bark. The beaver stores food for winter in its lodge.
The beaver has few predators. Humans hunt beavers for their fur. Large birds of prey, such as eagles and owls, will sometimes attack beavers. But most animals stay away from the beaver because it is large and can defend itself with its sharp teeth and powerful tail. Beavers stay in open water for safety from predators and make underwater entrance holes.
Beaver Habitat/ Where Do They Live?
The beavers are found in North America, Europe, and Asia. In North America, it is found in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. In Europe, it is found in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. In Asia, it is found in China and Mongolia. Beavers live in streams or rivers with ponds or lakes. They build their homes, called lodges, in the ponds or streams. The lodge contains underwater entrances and is made of sticks and mud.
More Interesting Facts About Beavers
- The beaver’s scientific name is Castor Canadensis.
- The beaver is a keystone species. This means that it plays an important role in its ecosystem. For example, the beavers build dams that create ponds that are important habitats for many other animals.
- The beaver is the national animal of Canada.
- The beaver is the state animal of New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
- Beavers are considered the largest rodents in Eurasia and North America and the second largest rodents on Earth.
- There are two species of beaver worldwide: the European and North American beaver.
- Beavers can live up to 24 years in the wild.
- The beaver is a good swimmer and can stay underwater for up to 15 minutes.
- The beaver has webbed hind feet and a flattened tail that it uses as a rudder when swimming.
- Beavers have a pair of transparent eyelids that are similar to goggles.
- The beaver’s fur is waterproof and oily. This helps to keep the beaver warm and dry when it is swimming.
- The beaver’s teeth are very sharp. They are also orange because they contain iron.
- Beavers are nocturnal animals. This means that they are active at night.
- Beavers slap their tails into the water when they are alarmed. This makes a loud noise that can be heard up to half a mile (1 kilometer) away.
- Beavers make various sounds, including grunts, growls, and hisses.
- Beavers do not hibernate. They are active all year long.
Beavers are very good swimmers and have webbed hind feet and a flattened tail that helps them steer. Their fur is also waterproof, keeping them warm and dry when swimming.
Beavers are social animals that live in family groups called colonies. A colony can have up to 10-12 individuals, and all the family members work together to build their lodges and dams. Beaver families are territorial and defend against other families.
Reproduction and Development
Sexually mature beavers commonly form pair bonds for life. In the winter, from January to late February, they breed, and female beavers give birth to two to four kits or baby beavers in the spring. Female beavers reach sexual maturity at 1.5–3 years of age.
Beavers reproduce sexually and have a gestation period of 128 days. The young kits are born blind and deaf and will stay with their mother for the first year of their lives. After they leave their mother’s care, they will find their mate and start their colony.
The beaver is not considered to be endangered. However, hunting and habitat loss are a threat to the beaver population. When their habitat is destroyed, they have nowhere to live. They are also hunted for the fur trade.
Trapping and Removal of Beaver
Unfortunately, beavers can become a problem by accidentally damming up man-made streams, which might cause significant flooding.
If you have a beaver problem, the best course of action is to call a professional trapper. Trapping and removal is the only way to get rid of beavers and should be done by someone who knows what they are doing. Once the beaver is trapped, it will be relocated to a remote area where it will not be a nuisance.
If you have a pond or lake on your property, you can also take steps to prevent beavers from damming it up. You can do this by installing a wire fence around the perimeter of the pond or lake. The wire fence should be at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) high and buried underground at least 2 feet (0.6 meters). You can also use beaver baffles, which are devices that prevent beavers from swimming into an area.
Beavers are important animals in their ecosystems because they build dams that create ponds that are important habitats for many other animals. However, they can cause problems for humans if they dam up ponds and lakes. If you have a beaver problem, the best course of action is to call a professional trapper. Once the beaver is trapped, it will be relocated to a remote area where it will not be a problem. You can also take steps to prevent beavers from damming up your pond or lake by installing a wire fence around the perimeter of the water body.
Beaver dams and colonies also offer a unique opportunity for individuals to learn about local ecosystems and wildlife. Have you ever experienced the beaver’s lifestyle in their natural habitat? Let us know in the comments!