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American Beaver

Castor canadensis

The beaver is North America's largest rodent, and the world's second largest, after the capybara of South America.

Physical Description
American beaverAdult beavers' head and body length ranges from 60 to 110 cm, plus a tail up to 50 cm long. Their weight ranges from 12 to 27 kg. They have webbed hind feet. Their coat is made up of finer underhairs and longer, more coarse guard hairs.

Home Range
Throughout North America

Habitat
Ponds, marshes, rivers, and wetlands

Diet
Bark of such trees as beech, maple, willow birch, alder, and aspen, as well as aquatic vegetation, buds, and roots

Reproduction
After mating in the winter and about 105 days of gestation, a female beaver will give birth to a litter of up to eight young, usually two to four.

Social Structure
Beavers live in colonies of four to eight family members. Considered the best engineers among rodents (and many other animals), beavers construct dams with mud, brush, stones, poles, vegetation, and other materials to create safe lodging and a provide themselves with a good food supply.

Status
In the 18th and 19th centuries, beavers were killed intensively for their fur, which was used as currency for a time. Some historians credit beavers—the exploitation of their fur, in particular—with contributing more to development of the United States and Canada than any other animal. more

Fun Facts
Beavers communicate in a variety of ways: postures, scent marking, vocalizations, and slapping the tail on water, which can be heard up to a mile away.

The American beaver's closest relative is the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber).
The American beaver is the national animal of Canada and is depicted on the Canadian nickel.



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