There's never a shortage of fun or interesting facts about beavers. As one of the largest rodents on earth, the beaver is truly a remarkable animal.
Beavers are monogamous animals who mate for life beginning in their third year. They have anywhere from one to four kits which are born in the spring.
Living in large family groups, both parents care for the kits. Beavers often live with their parents for 2 years until they leave to start their own family.
During this time, the yearlings (the previous years kits) can also serve as babysitters to the newly born kits.
There are two different species of beaver. The North American beaver which is commonly called the Canada beaver, and the European beaver which is commonly called the Eurasian beaver.
While both the North American beaver and European beaver look very similar to each other and have many of the same behavioral characteristics, they are not genetically compatible.
Second only to humans, beavers have the ability to change and alter their environment more than any other living creature.
Beavers are large rodents that can weigh up to 40 - 60 pounds. They have large front teeth that never stop growing. However, instead of being white in color like ours, they are rust colored due to high amounts of iron which makes their teeth very strong.
Continually chewing on trees and bark keeps their teeth worn down and manageable.
Beavers are best known for building dams in small streams or rivers. The dam creates a large body of water above it which is important to many different types of aquatic plants and animals.
It also creates a great place to build large hut shaped structures called beaver lodges which they use as their home. These lodges are built from mud and sticks in open water which provides protection from predators like owls, hawks, wolves and coyotes.
The largest beaver dam in the world can be found in the Wood Buffalo National Park located in Alberta, Canada. Stretching for 850m, the dam is visible from space!
Beavers adapt to the cold very well and can live for months under the ice. Before the pond or lake freezes over they create a large stash or "cache" of tree limbs near their lodge.
Aspen, cottonwood and willow are a few of their preferred tress for food. They use this cache of limbs for their winter food supply.
How can they see what they're doing underwater? Beavers have a set of transparent eyelids that protect their eyes while underwater......kind of like a pair of goggles!
They also have a broad flat tail that's used as a rudder while they're in the water or for balance while they're on land. When threatened, they slap their tail on the surface of the water creating loud "thunk" that warns other beavers of the danger.
This splash or thunk is very distinctive and almost sounds like someone threw a large rock in the water.
The beaver has helped shape our landscape and our history for centuries.
From their pivotal role in the fur trade industry that almost made them extinct, to their role as a keystone species creating habitat for other animals, the beaver is a remarkable animal.