Beavers: What You Should Know

Beavers are mammals and rodents that live in freshwater or on the banks, i.e. rivers and lakes. Since they sleep during the day, they are rarely seen. You can recognize their territory by the pointed tree stumps: beavers felled trees with sharp teeth and used them to build a dam.

Beavers are good swimmers. They have webbed feet and use their long, wide tails as rudders. They propel themselves by paddling their hind feet and can stay underwater for 20 minutes. They aren’t as fast on land, so they like to stay close to shore.

How do beavers live?

A pair of beavers stay together for life. They create several dwellings in their territory. This is a round hole in the ground or a space in the branches. One such is a beaver lodge. The living space is always above the water level, but the access is underwater. Beavers do this to protect themselves and their young.

The beavers build dams to create a lake so that the entrances to their dwellings always remain underwater. They cut down trees with sharp teeth. They wear out, but they grow back. They eat the bark. They also eat branches, leaves, and bark of trees. Otherwise, they only eat plants, for example, herbs, grasses, or plants in the water.

Beavers are active at night and at dusk and sleep during the day. They do not hibernate but look for their food even then. A store of branches in the water in front of the entrance serves as a reserve for times when the water is frozen.

The parents live in the beaver lodge with their young animals from the previous year. The parents mate around February, and around four cubs are born in May. The mother nurses her with her milk for about two months. They are sexually mature at around three years of age. The parents then drive them out of their territory. On average, they migrate about 25 kilometers before founding a new family and claiming their own territory.

Are beavers endangered?

Beavers are found in Europe and Asia, but also in North America. Their natural enemies are bears, lynxes, and cougars. There are only a few bears and lynxes here, but there are more and more poaching dogs that also hunt beavers.

However, the greatest threat to beavers is humans: for a long time, they hunted beavers to eat them or use their fur. He even wanted to eradicate them because they flooded entire fields with their dams. At the end of the 19th century, there were only about 1,000 beavers left in Europe.

In the 20th century, hunting began to be banned and beavers were protected. Since then, they have actually spread again. However, their difficulty is finding natural streams where they can live undisturbed and build their dams.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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