The beaver is best known for its ability of constructing a den in rivers and streams that are made from trees that they cut down themselves with their large buck teeth. Their teeth stick outside of the mouth so that while they are working with the wood in the water which keeps water from getting inside their mouths. Their teeth never stop growing making it necessary for them to continuously cut or chew on wood to keep the size down. They also use small branches, twigs, leaves, small sticks, and mud to fill in the areas of their dam.
Beavers have thick brown for with the soft grey undercoat which protects them all year round. They are member of the rodent family, and have small valves in their nose and ears which close while they are swimming. These amazing animals have a flat scaly tail that acts like a rudder. It allows the beaver to swim up to 30 knots per hour. Their flat tail is also used for building their dams. Beavers are very strong and their tail because of its flat shape allows him to balance heavy tree branches as they slowly move around on land dragging or pulling the tree into the water. They are able to steer through the water with their tail while pushing the log to their dam. A beaver colony will build one or more dams in their area. Once the dam has been constructed the beavers are able to catch food and swim.
When a beaver becomes frightened they make a loud danger signal. When the beavers frightened he will dive rapidly into the water making a loud slapping noise with his tail as he forcefully slaps the water the noise is heard for long distances both above and below the water levels. Beavers can remain underwater for about 15 minutes at a time and are excellent swimmers.
The North American beaver population was once well over 60 million. Today it is estimated there are only between six and 12 million beavers in the wild. This decline is largely due to there being hunted for their glands which is used for medicine and perfume and their fur which is always been a common trade item. The beavers also hunted by humans because the damages that they do and harvesting trees and flooding waterways which are problematic to landowners. In the wintertime the beaver has logs and stick stored for food as they do not hibernate during the winter months. Their dams are usually cone-shaped and are entered from the bottom through the water and enter a dry living area. The tops of the den is covered with mud to protect themselves from predators like the wolf, coyote, bears, mink, cougar or lynx, their most dangerous predator however is the human.
The beaver eats the bark off the trees not the actual wood itself, they are vegetarian and only eat non-woody plants; one of their favorites is cattail shoots. They also eat shrubs and trees during the fall and winter months.
British Columbia Canada have a largest portion of the beaver population in their lakes and streams than any place else. They are very difficult to track because their tail drags behind them wiping out there prints, the only exception to this is what happened to walk through a muddy area and their prints can be quite clear.
The average lifespan of a beaver is about 10 years, however there have been some known to live up to 24 years. In North America the beaver is the largest rodent weighing in at about 40 to 60 pounds, with their webbed feet and flat tail and waterproof fur they are able to reside both in the water and on land making them semi-aquatic mammals. The beaver will mate with their partner for life and are monogamous and usually have three or four babies which are known as kits that are taken care of by both parents and older brothers or sisters, they are also a nocturnal animal.