Castor canadensis • Mammals
Beavers are known for building dams on rivers and streams. They use strong front teeth to cut trees and other plants that they use both for building and for food. Beavers are slow on land, but with webbed hind-feet, and a broad tail they are good swimmers, and can stay under water for as long as 15 minutes. They have keen senses of hearing, smell, and touch. A beaver’s teeth grow continuously so that they
will not be worn down by chewing on wood.
Beavers are herbivores and prefer the wood of many trees. They also eat sedges, pond weed, and water lilies. Beavers are active mainly at night. More vulnerable on land, they tend to remain in the water as much as possible. They use their tail both to signal danger by slapping the surface of the water and as a location for fat storage. They construct their homes, or “lodges”, out of sticks, twigs, rocks and mud in lakes, streams, and tidal river deltas. These lodges may be surrounded by water, or touching land, including burrows dug into river banks.
Beavers are monogamous and have one litter per year averaging 2 – 3 kits, but as many as 6.