When I think of beavers, I always think of their friendly faces and curios eyes. Those animals are the true designers of the nature and their buildings are quite impressive. These guys have no problem to organise the woods on the river banks and to make up their own cozy lodges that remain a big mystery for the humans.

Not far away from my home, there is a real beaver colony. Thus, I have never managed to see the beaver in vivo. They are pretty much shy rodents that do not want to be found, observed or followed because it would mean risk for their family and habitat. However, their construction are remarkable and you will immediately note that beaver did the job.

What we do know about beavers so far? They are considered to be the largest living rodents in the world. They do have thick fur, webbed feet and strong jaws and teeth, so they are able to get the forest work. The scientists believe that their skills to modify the nature and the environment, are one of a kind. Not many animals have those talents and not many could be associated with “busy as a beaver” idiom. There are two known species of beavers: the American beaver and the Euroasian beaver. They are very similar but only the shape of the tail, head and the colour is a little bit different. Both of those groups are not so fragile or endangered, in spite of fact that they do have natural predators like humans, wolves, foxes, coyots, big predator birds. The animals know how to take care of themselves and to settle down in the constant changing habitat.

The beavers look up for water colonies where they can build up their homes and exciting dams. This further means that beavers love to find themselves working on the rivers, lakes, ponds, designing awesome lodges from mud, three branches, rocks and the rest of accessible vegetation. This is why their teeth are always growing, during the whole life that could have span from 12 years ( in wilderness) up to 30 years ( in captivity). Their strong teeth are their main tool to work with the surrounding material. They know that without teeth and power, there is no chance for a secret chalet to be built and used. That is also the reason why they do have the orange front teeth. Their tooth enamel contains iron so they could have sharp bite.

The beaver home is something like a Hobbit home, it is spectacular. It is written somewhere that the biggest dam till now has been found somewhere in the northern Alberta, Canada, stretches up to 850 m. Funny fact is that the dam has been noted on satellite in 2007 and then the explorer Rob Mark reached finally the dam in 2014. He believes that this unique lodge has been used for generations of beavers, even from 1970s. Every time, it has been reshaped, redesigned and improved for the needs of animals. The. experts for beavers believe that there is an explanation why they build such dams:“Beavers build dams for myriad reasons, and one is so that the lake behind it will grow deep enough to ensure it doesn’t freeze all the way through during the winter. This bit of temperature control is especially crucial because beavers anchor a food cache to the bottom of the lake to serve as sustenance during the cold months.

Did you know that they make a castor oil? Their butt has arsenal of glands and the two of them are known to be castor sacks. The secret smells like vanilla and the butt juice has been approved from FDA like vanilla flavourings for food and the perfume.

The ecosystem engineers are sometimes in the conflict with people because they may cause the big damage, if they keep redecorating their colony and habitat. They do the good things for biodiversity but some humans are not really happy with them and there are oft attempts of community to put the beavers off the wildlife protection list. The mentioned rodents are intelligent and know how to keep themselves safe. They can build bank lodges and open water lodges. The first are built along the shores while the others are almost like islands of stick and mud, enough isolated. Each of those constructions can have multiple entrances underwater and also the separated chambers for being home to more families. The skilled foresters are also canal managers that know how to handle the way between the dam or lodge and the rest of the working site. The good swimmers have an awesome capacity of lungs and capability to rule the water force, without being harmed.

The Canadians put this amazing animals as a national symbol:“The emblem is ´An Act to provide for the recognition of the Beaver (Castor canadensis) as a symbol of the sovereignty of Canada´, which received royal assent on March 24, 1975. Beavers are also the official state mammal of Oregon and New York.”

If you are a big fan of beavers, don’t forget that International beaver day is on April, 7th and don’t forget to learn about them so you can understand them and spread the awareness how crucial are they for our environment. They do not ruin the nature or make the floods, they help the biodiversity and prevent water disasters, by keeping the habitat under the control of water amount and their fluctuations. They are nocturnal animals that are constantly doing something. It is fascinating to know that those rodents are monogamous and they enjoy their one partner for the whole life, settling down in the lodge and sharing it eventually with parents and relatives, rising the offspring. Usually, the young leave the parent lodge and build its won colony with the partner. The kits can swim when they are born but still learn from their parents how to do forestry without mistakes.

I find them very intelligent, brave and authentic. They show us that the talent can change the world and the whole perspective and I would hope that one day, will have enough luck, to see the one and even to capture with the camera, our proud ecosystem engineers.


  1. Sarah’s delightful and informative article reminded me of the catastrophic beaver introduction programme into the Tierra del Fuego region of southern Argentina, in the 1940s…

    Originally, the ancient ancestors of the modern beaver species were subterranean survivors of the asteroid impact of 66 million years ago; humans derive from these survivors. The Castoridae species the beavers belong to emerged in the North American region c. 40 million years ago and began to spread over The Bering Strait in summer to Eurasia.

    In 1946, the then government of Argentina imported 50 beavers from the Canadian government. These beavers were released into the area of Cami Lake in Tierra del Fuego, in order to instigate a fur trade resource. The industry never succeeded and the beavers multiplied and spread across southern Argentina; destroying vast swathes of wetlands, rivers, etc.

    The beavers in Tierra del Fuego have no natural predators there, whereas wolves and bears, etc., in Canada check beaver numbers. Presently, there are about 200,000 beavers in Tierra del Fuego. In particular, Tierra del Fuego National Park in Argentina is significantly-threatened, as beavers are destroying protected tree species there. Unlike North American boreal tree species, the South American tree species do not regenerate when coppiced (i.e. eaten through by beavers), which guarantees forest breakdown and all intrinsic ecosystems.

    In addition, flooding caused by beaver dams in Tierra del Fuego results in collapsed ecosystems of wetlands there. Though, there are several programmes in place to resolve the problem of the beavers, but humans need to accept responsibility for their erroneous and disastrous decisions on introducing foreign species for commercial purposes…


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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !