Turtle Bay
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America Beaver

North American Beavers

Castor canadensis

Range: Found throughout North America.

Habitat: Beavers are semi-aquatic mammals who live on the banks of rivers, streams, and ponds.

Diet: They are herbivores and prefer to eat leaves, bark, twigs, roots, and aquatic plants. Beavers are nocturnal, so most foraging is done between dusk and dawn.

Lifespan: 10-15 years in captivity.


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Timber

Timber was born at the Minnesota Zoo on June 23, 2014. He came to Turtle Bay on August 13, 2014 at only seven weeks of age. 


Fun Facts

  • Largest rodent in North America.

  • North American beavers usually weigh between 40-60 pounds.

  • Beavers tend to be social, living in a colony of up to eight; however, it is not uncommon for males to remain bachelors their entire lives.

  • They have many adaptations that allow them to survive in their aquatic environment:

    • Oily, waterproof outer coat with a dense underfur that traps air for insulation

    • Webbed hind feet

    • Closable ears and nostrils to keep water out

    • Clear membrane over the eyes that act like goggles

    • Cheeks seal behind their incisors which allows them to gnaw food underwater

    • Paddle-like tail used as a rudder and for fat storage

  • Because beavers prefer deeper pools they will often make less desirable habitats into ideal ones by damming streams, creating deep ponds and lakes.

  • Not only do they construct dams, but they build lodges to live in as well. 

  • They store branches and twigs underwater to sustain them throughout the winter.

  • Beavers have castor glands near the base of their tail that they use to mark their territory as well as help waterproof their fur, hence their genus name: castor!

  • DANGER! A loud, resounding slap of their tail on the water warns all beavers in the area that danger is near.

  • They can swim 5 mph.

  • Beavers can hold their breath up to 15 minutes under water.

  • They have ever-growing, chisel-like front teeth (like all rodents). Beavers store iron in their teeth, adding strength and giving them an orange color.

  • Front feet have five fingers that are skilled at manipulating objects.

  • Not all beavers make dams, only ones who need to alter the environment.