Beaver (Castor canadensis)

beaver 520 x 219

The beaver is the largest of the North American rodents. They have thick brown hair with long guard hairs. Their bodies are robust with a broad, flat, and scaly tail that is usually around 10 inches long and 6 inches wide. They slap their tails against the water as a sign of warning. Beavers reach 3 to 4 feet in length and weigh between 40 and 70 pounds. They are sometimes mistaken for Muskrats, but their larger size and flat tail are good indicators.

Beavers need two to three feet of ice-free water year round. To maintain the necessary water level, beavers construct dams. Piled logs and trees are secured with mud, plants, rocks and sticks. They also build canals to float and transport branches and logs for food and construction. Food for the winter is stored in underwater food caches; beavers eat bark, leaves, aquatic plants, roots and grasses.There are two types of dens beavers use as food caches depending on water fluctuations: bank dens and lodges. Lodges are constructed where water levels are more stable, as in ponds or lakes. The same lodge is used by a family year after year and may house up to ten beavers at a time. The main room of the lodge is often more than 3 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide.

Breeding usually occurs in January or February and the young are born April to June with litters averaging one to six kits. The kits eyes are open at birth and they can swim immediately. Young stay with their parents until they are two years old and then go out to find their own homes.

Some of the highest concentrations of beaver in the Upper Tanana Valley occur in the Scottie and Moose Creek areas.


 beaver cache 194x116  beaver eating 194x116