NatureMapping Animal Facts


Beaver (Castor Canadensis)
Also know as the North American Beaver
Species Code: CASCA

distribution map

Description: The beaver belongs to the Order Rodentia and is the world's second largest rodent. The beaver is rich brown in color and has a wide paddle-shaped tail. Beavers can grow up to 40" long, including the tail, and can weigh up to 60 lbs.

The tail is about 10 inches long and 6 inches wide. The tail, because of its thickness, can cause a loud splash when it slaps the water. The beaver is also recognized by huge front teeth.

Range / Habitat: Beavers are found throughout North America except for the extreme northern regions of Canada, the deserts of the southwest United States, Mexico, and Florida.

Beavers are good swimmers and select rivers, streams, ponds and lakes upon which to build their dams and lodges. A few natural signs tell you a beaver is near. A stick-and-mud dam built across a stream at the edge of a lake and stumps of small trees in the area showing tooth marks will let you know a beaver is nearby.

Diet: Even though they have huge front teeth, beavers are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants. Beavers like to eat a few different kinds of trees, including aspen, poplar, birch, maple, willow, and alder. Beavers also eat bark and small twigs, and store small sections of logs underwater near their lodge to eat later.

Predators: Young beavers are threatened by bears, wolves, wolverines, lynx, and otters. They can also face danger from fishers, who fish near their homes.

Behavior: Beavers are mostly nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are active at night. However, they are sometimes seen during the day. "Families" of beavers, consisting of parents, yearlings, and kits, usually occupy a lodge. Beavers are usually monogamous, meaning they have one mate for life. Once a beaver is two-years-old, it leaves the family lodge.

Lifespan: Beavers have a lifespan of 10-15 years in the wild, and can live to 20 years in captivity.

Did you know?

  • Badgers use their webbed feet for swimming.
  • Beavers are usually monogamous, meaning they have one mate for life.
  • Beavers are herbivores, so they eat plants.
  • Beavers live in family groups called colonies.

Beaver Tracks
Beaver Tracks
by J. Wernet, age 12

Beaver Silhouette

Beaver Photo

More information:

Adept Adaptors and Environmental Engineers

Beaver Podcast - NatureWatch

Animal silhouettes available to purchase »

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