Beaver - Amisk - Castor Canadensis - Castor
Castor Canadensis (Scientific name)
Amisk (Indigenous name - Cree)
Beavers can live up to 24 years in the wild! They are the largest rodents in North America, and can weigh between 24 and 71 pounds.
They have many features that assist them in their semi-aquatic lifestyle, such as their long, flat, paddle-shaped tail, and webbed hind feet which help them to swim. Their front paws are useful for digging and handling tree bark.
Beavers are herbivores, but they are quite picky eaters. They will feed on wood, bark, branches, twigs, leaves, stems and more. They will also eat aquatic plants, but they do not eat fish.
Beavers are mainly active at night. They are excellent swimmers, and their ears and nose shut to keep water out. They can stay submerged under water for 15 minutes! How long can you stay underwater?
Beavers cut down trees and use the branches to build dams in streams of water. They react quickly to the sound of running water, and this is how they are able to find and maintain their habitats. The dams they build provide ponds, which help beavers escape from predators. They also construct their homes or “lodges” in these ponds. Their lodges are made of sticks, twigs, rocks, and mud. Do you know what your home is made out of?
Beaver’s fur has long and coarse outer hair, and short fine inner hairs. They have a thick layer of fat under their skin which helps keep them warm in cold water. They also have scent glands which release an oily substance. Beavers use this substance to waterproof their fur! Could you imagine being waterproof?
Beavers are very good at communicating. They communicate through scent, slapping their tail, or making noises such as a hiss, growl, or whine.
Baby beavers are called “kits”. They remain with their parents for up to two years, which gives them enough time to develop their dam construction skills. They need to spend a long time with their family learning how to live an independent life. Sound familiar?
Where can you find them? The North American Beaver can be found in most of Canada and the United States, and there’s even some in Mexico! It is estimated that there are about 20 million beavers living in North America. That’s a lot of Beavers!
Have you ever seen a Beaver in the wild?