Introduction - BeaverBeavers live throughout the majority of North America and the boreal forest regions of Canada, Europe and Asia. They are actually divided into two species, the American Beaver and the Eurasian Beaver. Both species are herbivores that are active all year long. They are semi-aquatic and live in lakes, ponds, streams and rivers where they build dams or burrows. They primarily are active at night when predators are asleep. The main reason why they build dams is for protection from predators, but in fact the dams can also benefit other animals. The information below lists many more interesting facts about Beavers written for kids and adults.
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Basic Beaver Facts
- Beavers prefer to feed on twigs, leaves, bark, and other plants, especially aquatic plants such as water lilies.
- The Capybara is the only rodent larger than the Beaver.
- The large and flat tale on the Beaver is used as an aid for sitting and standing, for slapping the water to warn colony members of danger, and as a swimming aid.
- Beavers are able to stay underwater for up to 15 minutes at a time and can swim at speeds up to 5 miles per hour (8 kph) thanks to adaptations such as paddle-like tails, webbed feet, and transparent eyelids that help to enhance their underwater vision.
- Beavers live in colonies or extended family units of up to 8 Beavers. This includes two parents and offspring made up of yearlings and kits. Kits are the newest born Beavers and yearlings were born the previous spring.
- Beavers are very territorial and use scent mounds as a way of marking their territory. Beavers have castor glands on their tails which produce a musky smelling oil which they leave behind on piles on branches and mud. They also use this same oil to coat their fur to make it waterproof.
- Kits and yearlings have a high mortality rate due to factors like predators and disease. 70-80% will die before reaching adulthood.
Facts about Beaver Teeth
- Beavers have exceptionally strong teeth and jaws which are designed for chewing and shaping logs and tree trunks in order to build their homes.
- The teeth of the Beaver, compared to the size of their skull are very large.
- Because the Beaver's teeth get worn down from continually chewing on wood, they are in a constant state of growth. A Beaver's teeth will grow throughout its life to ensure it always has sharp teeth.
Facts about Beaver Dams and Lodges
- Beavers are famous for their ability to create dams in waterways such as streams, ponds, rivers and lakes.
- In order to make their homes, called lodges, the Beavers must first create the dam. Once the dam is created, the Beaver can use a combination of wood, twigs, branches, and mud to create a lodge in the pond left by the dam.
- The only way to get to a lodge entrance is underwater.
- Beaver dams also aid other animals like frogs, songbirds, and even salmon by creating a habitat for them to thrive in as well.