animal trial

Beaver The Animal


Beaver Home


Lodge / Den

Dam / Canals

Master Builders



Beaver Video



Anatomy / Physical Make-up


History with Humans

The animal beaver, most known for cutting down trees, is the largest member of the rodent family in North America. Over time the beaver has changed the landscape more than any other animal. Beavers are master builders using their skills to make dams to control the flow of water coming in from rivers and lakes into wetland areas. For this mammal to be able to build dams and canals, lodges, channels and plunge holes, the anatomy and physical makeup of a beaver is a wonder of nature.

Beavers are vegetarians and to carry out their work they require lots of energy. Their diet comes from many sources but mainly tree bark. In cold climates they store winter caches of food under the water to be able to feed their families. The name for a baby is a kit and over one year old they are called a yearling.

Reproduction and social behaviour - the beaver has 3 to 4 young and sometimes up to 9 is possible if food and conditions are good. The beavers socially are very close and have many ways of communicating to each family member. Adults always put the kits and yearlings learning as a priority, teaching them by example. The kits learn by mimicking their elders.

Today the family castoridae has one remaining genus, castor, with two species - castor canadensis the North American beaver and castor fiber the European beaver. The evolution of castoridae shows ten or more species once lived. Taxonomists show twenty five sub species in north america. This may explain how far and wide beavers have adapted to whatever environment they moved or pushed into.

Surviving in the wilderness beavers have evolved their own form of safe guarding measures to continue growing. Most land and water predators have a hard time catching the beaver because of the way it lives surrounded by water.

History with man - the beaver was the biggest single reason for north america to be explored and settled so fast. The Europeans need for the fur in clothing and beaver castors (gland used in perfume) created an industry for countries to spend money in exploration into north america.

Recovery to present day - today numbers may not be what they first were but now the beaver shares the land with many humans and has shown to be able to grow to good numbers. Surviving and adapting to new locations allows beavers to not be on the endangered species list.

beaveronlogsmallBeaver. Large rodent of the family Castoridae of Europe and North America. It is characterized by its aquatic fur ( a soft under coat with a longer, rougher outer coat) , rounded head with small ears, scaly and fattened tail, and webbed hind feet. Its body length exclusive to the tail is about 30 in., and it weighs from 40 to 50 lbs., often more. The tail acts as a rudder in swimming and is used to slap the water as a danger signal and to support the animal when it is sitting erect . Its hind feet have combing claws with which it grooms itself.

There are two living species, castor fiber, the European Beaver exterminated in most countries but found in small numbers in parts of France, Germany, Norway, Poland, and Siberia, and C . canadensis, the American beaver . beaverworldhabitsmall

Beavers are gregarious and live in colonies. Although some of American beavers make burrows in stream banks, the majority construct lodges of branches and twigs tightly plastered with mud . A room above water level in the lodge serves as a living room and nursery. The entrances and emergency exit the underwater as protection from enemies. If the water of the chosen site is not deep enough to cover and to provide an under water cache for food , the beavers build a dam of tree trunks , branches , and mud and, and stone.

A winter store of wood is submerged in water near the lodge, where at it can be reached by swimming under the ice . Bark of aspen , cottonwood, willow,birch, and alder , and succulent parts of aquatic plants constitutes most of its diet. Chipping at the wood with its incisor teeth, the Beaver fells trees used for food and in making the dam. Canals are often made in which to float a distant logs to the dam site .

The beaver pelt was the staple article of the fur trade of Canada and the United States from the early 17th century, and constant hunting by Indians and white trappers almost exterminated the Beaver before protected laws were passed . Until about the mid 19th century, pelts were used chiefly in making hats, the rest for coats and trimmings .

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