American Beave Definition | Characteristics & Facts

American Beave

American Beaver

American Beave Definition

The American beaver, also known simply as the beaver, is a large, semiaquatic rodent native to North America. It is renowned for its remarkable ability to construct dams and lodges using sticks and mud, which create ponds that provide a habitat for various other species.

American Beaver General Characteristics & Facts

General Characteristics of the American Beaver:


The American beaver is a large rodent, typically measuring around 3 to 4 feet in length, including its tail. They can weigh between 40 to 70 pounds.


Beavers have dense, waterproof fur, which is usually brown in color. They have a broad, flat tail, webbed hind feet, and sharp, orange-colored incisor teeth.


Beavers are semiaquatic and prefer to live near freshwater bodies such as rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes.


Beavers are known for their exceptional building skills. They construct dams across rivers and streams using sticks, mud, and stones, creating ponds that provide shelter and protection. They are primarily nocturnal animals.


Beavers are herbivores and primarily feed on a variety of vegetation, including aquatic plants, grasses, leaves, and bark from trees like willow and aspen.


Beavers use vocalizations, tail slaps on the water, and scent marking to communicate with each other.

Conservation Status

While beaver populations were once heavily hunted for their fur and gland secretions, conservation efforts have led to a rebound in their numbers. They are currently considered of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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Physical Characteristics of American Beaver

Physical Characteristics of the American Beaver:

  1. Size: Adult American beavers are typically 2.5 to 4 feet (76 to 122 centimeters) long, excluding the tail, and weigh between 40 to 70 pounds (18 to 32 kilograms).
  2. Coat: Beavers have dense, waterproof fur with two layers—an outer layer of long guard hairs that protect against water and an inner layer of soft, insulating fur.
  3. Color: The fur of American beavers is usually brown, ranging from light to dark shades. The coloration may vary slightly depending on the region.
  4. Tail: Beavers have a distinctive, flat, paddle-shaped tail that is about 10 to 18 inches (25 to 46 centimeters) long. The tail helps them swim efficiently and serves as a useful tool for signaling and slapping the water to warn others of danger.
  5. Eyes and Ears: They have small, round eyes and ears located on the top of their head. Their eyes have a special membrane called a nictitating membrane, which allows them to see underwater while protecting their eyes.
  6. Teeth: One of the most notable features of beavers is their large, orange-colored, chisel-like incisor teeth. These teeth grow continuously throughout their lives and are used for gnawing trees and building dams.
  7. Feet: Beavers have webbed hind feet that make them excellent swimmers. Their front feet are more dexterous and are used for holding and manipulating objects.
  8. Adaptations: Beavers are well-adapted to their semiaquatic lifestyle with physical traits such as transparent eyelids, valves in their ears and nose to close them while underwater, and specialized fur for waterproofing.
  9. Scent Glands: They possess scent glands near the base of the tail, which secrete a musky substance called castoreum. This substance is used for marking territories and communication.
  10. Lifespan: In the wild, beavers typically live around 10 to 15 years, but they can live longer in captivity.

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Scientific Classification of American Beaver

Scientific Classification of the American Beaver:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Rodentia

Family: Castoridae

Genus: Castor

Species: Canadensis

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American Beaver FAQs

What does American Beaver?

  1. Tree Bark
  2. Tree Twigs and Branches
  3. Aquatic Plants
  4. Roots and Rhizomes
  5. Leaves
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