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  CANADA BEAVER

 
(Castor Canadensis)

Great places to see beavers include the Icefields Parkway, Pyramid Lake, Horshoe Lakes near Jasper and Vermilion Lake near Banff.

Beavers live near water, rivers, streams, ponds, sloughs, ravines where there are plenty of shrubs, trees, and bushes to provide food and building materials. They move around mostly at night. They don't eat wood, they eat the bark from the branches and use the remainder for construction. Beavers can fell trees up to four feet in diameter.

Canada Beaver

Canada Beaver
A web footed mammal

It is estimated North America once
had over 60 million beavers

Canada Beaver

"Carpenter", "Lumberjack" and "Engineer" all rolled into one. Beavers are fascinating mammals for a number of reasons. Their teeth never stop growing, necessary because they are continuously gnawing trees. They are one of a very few animals on earth that modifies its habitat for its own personal use. They can fell 200 or more trees in a year and can drastically change the landscape around them. It is a very strong animal and can haul a tree, with its teeth, that is many times its own weight.  I'd like to see a human do that!

The dams they create actually help nature in many ways, creating living habitats for a wide range of wildlife. Waterfowl, amphibians, insects, fish, mink, muskrats and larger animals thirsty for drinking water are all benefactors of the beavers' work.

Beavers average 3 to 4 feet in length, have dark brown oily coats and, of course, the tell-tall flat paddle like tail. They weigh up to 70 pounds.

Living under water creates special challenges and the beaver has adapted with valves that allow them to close their ears and nostrils when submerged. Clear membranes slide over their eyes and they can chew wood underwater without water entering their mouths. They are active under the ice during the winter. They have an efficient layer of fat to insulate themselves and are adept tunnelers. They are among natures' most unique creatures and were driven to the brink of extinction by early trappers seeking thier pelts to sell to Europeans.

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