Education

A Beavers Life

Beavers are nocturnal. That means they are more active at night than they are during they day. When we sleep, beavers are busy chewing down trees. They use the trees to build with and for food. It is very unusual to see a beaver at work during the day. See how large the trees are that the beavers have been chewing down?

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Where Beavers Live

This is a picture of a beaver lodge. The beavers live inside, even the front door is under water. It keeps them warm and safe throughout the year but especially during the long cold winter months. In a beaver dam or lodge, every tree, branch and limb is chewed and dragged into place by the beavers. Baby beavers work beside their parents to help build a beaver dam. They work together as a family. The family is called a ‘colony’.

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Beavers Geographical Distribution – North America and Eurasia (dark green)

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History

Once abundant beyond measure, it was the beaver and its valuable fur—used to make top hats in Europe—that first attracted explorers to the American West. Then, in just a few decades, this largest of North American rodents was trapped so heavily it nearly disappeared. Over the past century, however, this great engineer of the wilds has made a remarkable comeback.

Appearance

The best way to spot a beaver is to check creeks and streams for dams or lodges, and then wait there until dusk. Look for a dark brown animal 35 to 46 inches long (which includes its 16-inch flat, scaly tail) and weighing 35 to 75 pounds. The beaver’s massive head has small ears, beady little eyes, and four large, orange hued incisors. The front feet contain five widely splayed toes. The hind feet are twice as long and have webbing between the toes.

Sound

Beavers hiss at muskrats, strange beavers, or anything else thought to be a threat. The young whine, much like human babies. Another sound is the loud, wet slap of the animal’s tail when it is agitated and plunges underwater. The report scares intruders and warns other beavers of danger.

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