24 Facts About Beavers


Beavers are large, semiaquatic rodents in the genus Castor native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere.

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Beavers can be found in a number of freshwater habitats, such as rivers, streams, lakes and ponds.

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Beavers build dams and lodges using tree branches, vegetation, rocks and mud; they chew down trees for building material.

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Beavers hold territories and mark them using scent mounds made of mud, debris and castoreum, a liquid substance excreted through the beaver's castor sacs.

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Beavers belong to the rodent suborder Castorimorpha, along with Heteromyidae, and the gophers.

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Beavers have one premolar and three molars on all four sides of the jaws, adding up to 20 teeth.

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Beavers are awkward on land but can move quickly when they feel threatened.

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Beavers have a good sense of smell, which they use for inspecting scent marks, food and other individuals, and for detecting land predators.

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Beavers prefer to use slower moving streams, typically with a gradient or steepness of one percent, though they have been recorded using streams with gradients as high as 15 percent.

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Beavers are found in wider streams more than narrower ones.

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Beavers have settled increasingly at or near human-made environments, including agricultural areas, suburbs, golf courses and shopping malls.

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Beavers are protected from predators when in their lodges and prefer to stay near water.

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Beavers continue to pile on more material until the dam slopes in a direction facing upstream.

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Beavers make two types of lodges: bank lodges and open-water lodges.

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Beavers are mainly nocturnal and crepuscular and spend the daytime in their shelters.

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Beavers are able to travel greater distances when free-flowing water is available.

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Beavers are more tolerant of individuals that are their kin.

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Beavers sometimes come into conflict with humans over land use; the individual beavers being labeled a "nuisance beaver".

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Beavers can spread giardiasis by infecting surface waters, though outbreaks are more commonly caused by human activity.

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Beavers have been hunted, trapped and exploited for their fur, meat and castoreum.

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Beavers have historically been hunted and captured using deadfalls, snares, nets, bows and arrows, spears, clubs, firearms and leg-hold traps.

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Beavers stated it could stop hiccups when mixed with vinegar, toothaches if mixed with oil and administered into the ear opening on the same side as the tooth, and could be used as an antivenom.

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Beavers have been featured as companions in some stories, including a Lakota tale where a young woman flees from her evil husband with the aid of her pet beaver.

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Beavers have appeared in literature such as in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and in the writings of Athanasius Kircher, who wrote that on Noah's Ark the beavers were housed near a water-filled tub that was used by mermaids and otters.

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