Beaver

Facts

Beaver

  • Most characteristic feature is a flattened paddle like tail
  • The beaver is a true Tennessee water conservationist which has caused problems in some of the states bottomland areas.
  • It builds water tight dams of sticks and mud across streams and cone shape houses known as lodges.
  • Beaver dams slow the flow of water in fast streams, changing the composition of life in the stream. Increased siltation and flooding in low-lying areas are just a few of the problems associated with beaver dams.
  • Beaver dams can , however, prevent erosion and purify the water in a stream.
  • Beavers possess castor glands which is located at the base of the tail. These glands are used to mark an animals territory.
  • Beaver families are very territorial and will defend its territory from encroaching beavers.
  • Beavers are primarily nocturnal, although they may sometimes be seen during the day.

 

Physical Characteristics 

The beavers ears are short, round and dark brown in color. The ears are closable when the animal is in the water. The beaver possesses closable nostrils and a transparent eye membrane. These characteristics aid in the beavers aquatic existence. When walking on dry land a beavers rear end is higher than his front end, this is due to the fact that the beavers hind are longer than his front legs. The beavers upper incisors are bright orange in color and continue to grow throughout the beavers life. The beavers flat, scaly tail serves as a rudder when the beaver is swimming and as a warning device when slapped on the water. The beavers tail is also used for support when standing on land or dragging logs.

  • Adult size 35-40 inches in length
  • Average weight 30-60 lbs
  • Typically have 2-4 kits per litter
  • Average beaver colonies consist of six or seven animals, usually including parents and their young of two age classes
  • Parental care begins at birth and continues until young have reached self reliance (usually 1-2 years)
  • The lifespan of a beaver in the wild is from 10 to 20 years. Predators, parasites and disease play a factor in mortality
  • Pelage is dark, rich, chestnut brown to reddish brown or blackish brown
  • The under-hairs are much more fine than the thick protective guard hairs
  • Heavily muscled body supported by large bones
  • Largest rodent in North America

 

Eating Habits

  • Eat bark and twigs from trees, prefers maple, willow, alder and birch.
  • Stores branches under water near lodge.