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Riverside Reflections: Beavers in Hot Water at Astoria

Species Spotlight: The American Beaver (Castor canadensis)

Engineering experts

American beavers are remarkable engineers and builders. They construct elaborate dams made from sticks, mud, and stones to create ponds and wetlands where they can live safely and access food easily.

Aquatic adaptations

Beavers are well-suited for aquatic life. They have webbed feet that aid in swimming and powerful tails that function as rudders to control their movements in the water. The beaver is more at home in the water than on land. It can hold its breath for up to 15 minutes and swim up to half a mile underwater. Additionally, beavers possess valves in their nose and ears that automatically close when submerged, along with transparent nictitating membranes acting as a third eyelid, protecting their eyes underwater.

Waterproof fur

Beavers have a unique adaptation for staying dry. Their fur is dense, oily, and waterproof, providing excellent insulation and allowing them to stay comfortable in cold water.

Herbivores with varied diets

While primarily herbivores, beavers have a diverse diet. They feed on aquatic plants, shrubs, and tree bark, using their strong teeth to gnaw through tough vegetation.

Nighttime creatures

Beavers are mostly nocturnal, meaning they are most active during the night. They use the cover of darkness to forage for food and work on their dams and lodges.

Listen to the song “I’m Proud to be a Beaver” by our friends, the Banana Slug String Band. You’ll learn SO much more about beavers!