Status: Not Listed
The American beaver's most noticeable characteristic is the long, flat, black tail. A beaver’s tail not only helps it swim faster, but can also be used to make a loud alarm call when slapped against water. In addition, the large tail helps the beaver balance when carrying a heavy log or tree trunk.
The American beaver is the largest rodent in the United States, growing from two to three feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters) long, not including the tail. They have dark-brown waterproof fur and webbed feet. Beaver teeth grow continuously throughout their lives, and beavers must gnaw on trees to keep their teeth from getting too long. Thick layers of enamel on their teeth give them an orange color.
Beavers live in ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams throughout the continental United States, except in the desert areas of the Southwest. Beavers are well known for their ability to build dams. They are one of the few animals that can actively change an ecosystem by blocking rivers and streams with trees and mud, creating new lakes, ponds, and floodplains.
Beavers also build homes called lodges out of branches and mud, which can often only be accessed from underwater entrances in the ponds.
Beavers are semi-aquatic herbivores. They travel from water to land to collect and eat tree bark, leaves, roots, and wetland plants.
Beavers are monogamous. They mate at around three years of age. Females gestate the young for roughly three months before giving birth. A female will typically have one litter of kits a year, with litter size ranging from one to four kits. These kits, along with those born the previous year, stay with their parents inside the lodge.
American beaver populations are stable.
Beavers can stay underwater for 15 minutes without coming to the surface. They have transparent eyelids that act as goggles so they can see as they swim.
The National Wildlife® Photo Contest celebrates the power of photography to advance conservation and connect people with wildlife and the outdoors.Enter Today
President and CEO Collin O’Mara reveals in a TEDx Talk why it is essential to connect our children and future generations with wildlife and the outdoors—and how doing so is good for our health, economy, and environment.Watch Now
Ditch the disposables and make the switch to sustainable products.Shop Now
Search, discover, and learn about wildlife. Anywhere, any time.Get the Apps
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.