April 7th is International Beaver Day. Beavers are fascinating animals that build dams and lodges across rivers and streams. They have large, flat tails that they smack against the water when danger is near and big, chisel-like front teeth that are perfect for gnawing on wood. Let’s dive in and explore some more about the beaver!
Beavers have orange teeth – Their tooth enamel is rich in iron, which gives their teeth a distinctive orange hue.
Beavers actually eat wood – They don’t just chop wood with their chompers, they actually eat it too. Beavers will often snack on tree bark and the soft wood growth right underneath the bark. They also eat aquatic vegetation, stems and leaves.
Beavers are the largest rodents in North America – There are only two species of beaver in the world – the North American Beaver and the Eurasian Beaver. The North American Beaver can weigh between 35-65 pounds and can be up to 4 feet long.
Beavers can stay underwater for 6 to 8 minutes – Beavers have very large lungs. This large lung capacity allows them to stay submerged for several minutes while they swim along at up to 6 MPH.
Beavers modify their environment – Beavers are one of the few animals that actually modify their environment or habitat by building dams and lodges. They use sticks, branches, reeds and other woody bits, which they caulk together with mud and stone.
Beavers don’t just build dams – Beavers are known for building dams but they also build lodges. These dome-like lodges are where the beaver lives and are typically away from the shore. The lodges form islands that are only accessible from the water. The floor is usually covered with wood shavings to soak up moisture and provide the beaver with a comfy place to sleep.
While many feel that beavers are nuisance animals because of their dams that slow or block streams and rivers, they are actually beneficial creatures. Their dams and lodges create pools for fish and can slow rivers and streams that would otherwise be too fast flowing for many animals. They are fascinating creatures that should be celebrated. So, this April 7th, join us in celebrating the beneficial beaver on International Beaver Day!