North American Beaver

Photo Credit: Courtesy of NDOW

by Nevada Department of Wildlife
11-24-2020
Website

What's in your backyard? The North American beaver is a large aquatic rodent equipped with strong teeth and jaws to break down trees and build dams. They can weigh up to 60 pounds and are approximately 3 ½ feet long from head to tail. Beavers are herbivores and eat leaves, aquatic plants, and woody stems – much of the same material they use to build their lodges or homes. With their webbed feet, extra eyelids, large teeth, waterproof fur, and strong, scaly tail, North American beavers are well adapted to thrive in their environment. Although Nevada is known for its arid deserts, beavers can be found in aquatic locations throughout the state, particularly along the northeastern boundaries. Most people don’t know this, but there is even a small population of beavers scattered throughout remote areas in Lake Mead.
 
Fun facts:
 
-Beavers can swim at speeds up to five miles per hour and see underwater with a set of transparent eyelids.
 
- Their dark orange, enamel coated teeth grow continuously throughout their lifetime to keep up with the constant wear from gnawing on trees.
 
-They will slap their tails against water to scare off predators and warn family members.
 
-Beavers mate for life and defend their territory and food supply against other beavers not in their family. Their scent mounds signal their presence to other beavers.
 
-Beavers are known for being “nature’s engineers” because of the way they can transform a landscape to their liking. Using their teeth, they fell trees and collect bark, mud, sticks, and rocks to create dams, canals, and their lodges. The dams they build transform moving water into a pond by blocking off the continuous flow of water. They create intricate houses with insulation and chambers to keep their family safe.
 
Photos of the North American Beaver taken at the Oxbow Nature Study Area, Reno, NV.


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