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Beavers are one of the largest rodents in existence. They have thick fur, webbed feet and scale-covered tails. Due to their busy life, beavers are often used in idioms about being industrious and hardworking.
See the fact file below for more information on the beavers or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Beavers worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Habitat, Anatomy and Life Cycle
- Common Name: Beaver
- Scientific Name: Castor canadensis (American beaver), Castor fiber (Eurasian beaver)
- Type: Mammals
- Diet: Herbivores
- Group Name: Colony
- Average Lifespan in the Wild: Up to 24 years
- Average Weight: 60 lbs
- Beavers need water to survive. They live in lakes, ponds, marshes and rivers. Europe and Asia were once inhabited by Eurasian beavers. Now, scarce populations are seen in southern Scandinavia, France, Germany, Poland and Russia.
- While, Eurasian beavers diminished due to overhunting, by contrast, American beavers are found throughout North America.
- Beavers live in lodges with two dens, which look like little domes made of sticks, grass, branches and mud. Lodges are built barely above water level on the banks of ponds or lakes. They usually have an underwater entrance.
- Beavers are herbivores, which means they eat leaves, roots, bark, willow and aquatic plants.
- After the capybara, beavers are the second largest rodent. Their rounded body is covered with brown fur. Beavers have a flat, scaly, rudder-like tail. Their tail and webbed feet propel them through the water at 5 to 8 mph. According to National Geographic, they can stay underwater for 15 minutes.
- They walk slowly on land but are very good swimmers.
- Despite having poor eyesight, beavers have a good sense of hearing, smell and touch. They have a set of transparent eyelids, which enable them to see underwater.
- Beavers mate during winter. Eurasian female beavers have a gestation period of around 60 to 128 days, while their American counterparts will give birth after 105 to 107 days. Eurasian kits or babies are weaned after six weeks compared to the two weeks of American kits.
- As mammals, kits need to feed on their mother’s milk.
- At the age of two, kits usually leave their parent’s lodge and build their own. By 3 years old, they are ready to find their own mate.
- Adult beavers can grow up to 3 feet long and weigh over 25 kg. Females are usually as large or even a bit larger than males.
- Beavers are very social animals. They live in groups called colonies. Each lodge is inhabited by a monogamous couple and their kits.
- They are nocturnal mammals, preferring to move around at night. They are often busy building and maintaining their lodges and dams or looking for food.
- During winter, beavers do not hibernate but they tend to become less active.
- Beavers have continuously growing teeth, which they use to cut down trees and branches.
- Despite living in colonies, beavers are territorial animals. They mark their territories with castoreum, an odorous substance they secrete.
- They communicate through vocalizations, scent marking, body language and slapping of tails against the water.
- They are known to produce danger signals, which can be heard at long distances.
- Beavers are known builders. They create dams out of tree branches, logs and mud, which helps to maintain ideal water levels. In addition, dams also protect them from predators and irrigate their food.
- Aside from building 6.5 foot-long dams, beavers also dig canals connecting large bodies of water to their feeding area.
- In 1988, the estimated population of American beavers was around 60 to 400 million but recent studies show that only 6 to 12 million remain in the wild.
- The decline was caused by excessive hunting due to the beaver’s fur and glands used as medicine and perfume. Some hunted beavers because they interfered with human land use.
- In the United States, beaver hunting and trapping is regulated at the national level. According to the IUCN Red List, beavers are of least concern yet some areas are designated as protected.
- Beavers are not directly harmful to humans but can transmit illnesses like tularemia and giardiasis known as beaver fever.
- The habitats created by beavers are typically beneficial to other wildlife nearby but sometimes damaging to humans. This beaver behavior may cause the following:
- Dams made of extensive piles of branches and mud may block off water flow.
- Flooding of homes and irrigation systems.
- Destruction of valuable trees.
- Total blockage of waterways.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about beavers across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Beavers worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the beavers which are one of the largest rodents in existence. They have thick fur, webbed feet and scale-covered tails. Due to their busy life, beavers are often used in idioms about being industrious and hardworking.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Beavers Facts
- Just Beavers
- Beaver Body
- Beaver Style
- Fact or Bluff
- I’m a Beaver
- The Big Brown Beaver
- Two Beavers
- Busy Beaver
- Ecosystem Engineer
- The Nuisance Beaver
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Link will appear as Beavers Facts & Worksheets: http://www.grabillautomotive.com - KidsKonnect, August 29, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.