Fun American Beaver Facts For Kids

Sonali Rawat
May 10, 2023 By Sonali Rawat
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi
Read amazing American beaver facts about their food habits, habitat, and behavior.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.6 Min

The North American beaver (Castor canadensis) is the largest rodent in the world and it resides in habitats near rivers, lakes, and ponds in North America. They are known to build beaver dams and lodges by collecting materials and digging pathways for small streams.

The American beaver eats plants, leaves, tree bark, and fruits as food.

Since they are so adept at swimming due to their webbed feet, they can also be called water beavers and eat aquatic plants for food as well. These beavers are also known to slap their broad flat tails on the surface of the water to signal danger.

American beavers are described as keystone species because of their contribution to altering nature through beaver dams and creating habitats for other flora and fauna. This beaver species is largely native to North America and is not commonly found outside of it.

These beavers live for about 10 to 20 years and female beavers have a gestation period of three months. They give birth to one to four babies each breeding season.

After growing up in their parent's lodge, young beavers eventually obtain maturity and become independent. They have webbed feet, which makes swimming an easy task and these North American beavers are popular in the beaver fur trade industry and often overhunted.

If you like reading about this beaver species, you can also read about the mountain beaver and the beaver here on Kidadl.

American Beaver Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an American beaver?

The North American beaver (Castor canadensis) is a large rodent that is present in various parts of North America.

What class of animal does an American beaver belong to?

The American beaver belongs to the Mammalia class and can give birth to live young. They give birth to between one and four babies each breeding season. Their scientific name is Castor canadensis.

How many American beavers are there in the world?

An accurate estimation of their population size is not currently available due to a lack of data.

Where does an American beaver live?

American beavers are mammals of North America (they are found in most regions in North America, except desert regions) but they are also found in some parts of Canada and Mexico. They are also present in parts of Europe and Asia. Their habitat includes temperate forests, grasslands, lakes, and wetlands where food is readily available.

What is an American beaver's habitat?

The American beaver (Castor canadensis) lives near habitats that range from lakes ponds to rivers. Beavers build their lodgings on islands, river shores, and the banks of ponds.

This lodge is made up of twigs, moss, or grass woven together to make a dome shape and plastered with mud. The dome may be up to 94 in (240 cm) in size. They prefer living near water bodies due to this beaver's inherent tendency to build dams.

Who do American beavers live with?

American beavers are a highly social species and do not live alone. They live with other beavers in colonies. Usually, one dome or lodging will be home to a monogamous couple and their babies. They tend to be very territorial and protect their homes from other beaver colonies.

How long does an American beaver live?

The average American beaver lives to about 10-20 years of age.

How do they reproduce?

Beavers are monogamous, so they pick a partner and spend their lives with this single beaver. Only after their partner dies are they known to seek the company of another beaver.

Their breeding season lasts from January to March and November to December in the south. The gestation period of a female is three months long and about three to six babies can be born in one litter.

Female beavers only have kits once every year and the male beaver is known to collect food for the pregnant female beaver. Young beavers can leave their parents' lodges after two years and they gain sexual maturity in three years.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of American beavers is Least Concern, which means that their population is relatively stable. In the past, this species has come near extinction in their original habitats, but luckily, their population has seen a massive improvement in the past century.

Beavers are still not completely safe though and often fall prey to hunters because of their fur. Pollution and loss of habitat are also other reasons why the beaver population might be dropping.

American Beaver Fun Facts

What do American beavers look like?

North American beavers are known to have broad, flat scaly tails and webbed hind feet. They are reddish-brown in color and a beaver's tail is nearly hairless to maintain balance.

A beaver's fur is waterproof and its webbed feet are dark brown. Beavers have large teeth that continuously grow and they are known to bite on wood to keep this growth in check.

*Please note that this is an image of a beaver, not an American beaver specifically. If you have an image of an American beaver, please let us know at

How cute are they?

Beavers have dense fur, small eyes, and somewhat polite body language which makes them quite cute. While they are small, they have the power to alter the flora, fauna, and water flow of their surrounding areas. This makes them not only very cute but also very important to their ecosystem.

How do they communicate?

American beavers mainly communicate using their scent glands. Known for their territorial behavior, American beavers use scent marking to separate territories as it leaves a lasting odor.

If faced with danger, they can use their tails to slap on the surface of the water and signal danger to other colony members. They can also use their body language and vocal sounds like hissing or groaning to call out to each other.

How big is an American beaver?

North American beavers range from 29-35 in (74-89 cm) long including their tail and are 14.2-16.9 in (36-43 cm) tall. They weigh between 25-75 lb (11.3-34 kg). They are the largest rodents in North America and are about three times the size of a guinea pig. Male and female beavers are similar in size.

How fast can an American beaver swim?

The North American beaver can swim at the speed of 5 mph (8 kph).

How much does an American beaver weigh?

The weight of an average North American beaver ranges from 25-75 lb (11.3-34 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There have been no specific names designated to male and female American beavers.

What would you call a baby American beaver?

Baby beavers do not have a specific name.

What do they eat?

American beavers eat tree bark and the inner, soft part of the tree called the cambium for food. They are herbivores that love to eat trees like birches, willows, maples, aspen trees, and alders.

They can also dive underwater and eat aquatic leaves, roots, or plants. Beavers can also eat potatoes, lettuce, and carrots. Their main predators are wolves, otters, lynx, brown bears, eagles, and mountain lions.

Are they dangerous?

Beavers are not dangerous and generally mind their own business without interfering with humans. On the other hand, humans hunt beavers quite extensively and beaver fur is sold around the world.

Would they make a good pet?

Beavers are meant to live in the wild. They live in colonies and generally require a lot of food sources.

Beavers are also very important as keystone species and have duties they can only fulfill while in the wild. Therefore, domestication is not legal in many places and only a zoo may be able to adopt a rescue beaver. Beavers are cute but unfortunately, they do not make a good pet.

Did you know...

North American beavers are nocturnal and mainly rely on their excellent sense of smell because their sight and hearing are very poor.

American beavers can stay submerged underwater for up to 15 minutes!

Why is the American beaver a keystone species?

North American beavers are called keystone species as they create habitats that have amazing ecological benefits to both nature and humans. They can decrease floodwaters and maintain wetlands by building dams. Beavers can also prevent soil erosion.

What animal eats a beaver?

The North American beaver can fall prey to a lot of carnivorous animals. Their main predators are wolves, the lynx, northern river otters, black bears, and brown bears. Birds like great horned owls also eat beavers. Other animals, like coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and snakes may also prey on beavers.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the golden jackal or the hedgehog

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our cute beaver coloring pages.

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Written by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi

Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Oluwapelumi Iwayemi picture

Oluwapelumi IwayemiBachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Iwayemi is a creative content writer and editor studying for a Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering from the University of Lagos. He is skilled in research and has experience writing and editing content for different organizations.

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