10 Incredible Beaver Facts

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: August 21, 2023
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Beavers produce dams and colonies and are a keystone species to our planet, meaning that they help to maintain the overall functioning within their ecosystems. More than 1,000 creatures live in beaver-made wetlands. The ecosystem balance they provide not only supports beavers but other creatures as well. Beavers work hard and deserve praise. If you’re curious, here are 10 incredible beaver facts you might want to read!

Discover 10 fun facts about the water-loving beaver.

1. Beavers Are Semi-aquatic And Excellent Swimmers!

beaver swimming up close

There are so many incredible facts about beavers, including the fact that they are highly skilled swimmers.

©karen crewe/Shutterstock.com

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Beavers may seem a bit odd on land, but in the water, they can swim up to 5 mph. Their physical structure helps them swim and move with ease. Their oily, waterproof fur keeps them dry and toasty when submerged for extended periods.

Beavers can submerge themselves underwater for up to 15 minutes. Their transparent eyelids function as goggles, letting them traverse the water. Because they are semi-aquatic, their eyes and nasal valves close while they swim.

2. Beavers Can Weigh Around 100 Pounds!

What do beavers eat - beaver with twig

Beavers are about 35-65 lbs on average, but one big beaver reached 110 lbs!

©P Harstela/Shutterstock.com

Beavers can range in size from a hefty 35 to 65 pounds. The largest beaver ever documented weighed in at a whopping 110 lbs. The average beaver is 3 to 4 feet in length while lying down and 3 to 5 feet when upright. One hundred and ten pounds was the largest beaver ever documented.

3. Beaver Tails Are Quite Useful

Large Beaver isolated on a white background.

The beaver’s large and flat tail serves many purposes.

©Oleksandr Lytvynenko/Shutterstock.com

Beavers have huge flat tails. Its tail helps it swim and sit or stand erect. Beavers can slap their tails on the water’s surface if they perceive danger, to warn other animals, or just for pleasure. Beavers don’t hibernate and stockpile enough food to endure until spring. Their tail is virtually completely fat, plus a few connective tissues, which help them survive.

4. Their Teeth Are Strange But Powerful

Beaver Teeth - Close up of Beaver Teeth

A beaver’s long incisors are orange in color.

©Martin Janca/Shutterstock.com

A beaver’s front teeth jut out of their mouths, which looks funny, but they can eat up an 8-foot tree in 5 minutes. Their sharp teeth cut through branches, shrubs, and foliage to build nests and dams. Beavers’ incisors grow throughout life, but everyday use prevents expansion.

They also have orange teeth! An iron-rich enamel covering them creates this color and helps to prevent tooth decay. Beaver enamel contains iron, which helps reinforce it, unlike human enamel, which contains magnesium.

5. Vanilla Wafts From Their Bums

incredible beaver facts

Castor sacs situated under beaver tails release a substance called castoreum.

©Morphart Creation/Shutterstock.com

It may come as a surprise, but beavers exude a substance called Castoreum from castor sacs situated under their tails. This substance, along with urine, is used by beavers to mark their territory. Chemically speaking, this substance has the consistency of molasses and smells like musky vanilla. And the Food and Drug Administration has certified it as safe for use in flavoring foods.

6. Newborn Beavers Are Very Active

Animals That Mate for Life: Beavers

Beaver babies are called kits.


Kits are baby beavers. Born physically mature, they have fur and can open their eyes instantly. Kits can swim immediately after birth, but they need adult direction to learn other skills, such as hunting for food onshore as well as in water.

7. They Are Highly Intelligent

American beaver guarding its pond near Chena Hot Springs, Alaska

©Marcin Klapczynski / Creative Commons

Beavers are keystone species, meaning they’re important for environmental health. They are among the few animals that can control their surroundings to produce a suitable home, but that’s not why they’re considered ecological engineers. The dams they make generate wetlands, which are vital ecosystems for countless species.

8. Even From Orbit, You Can See The World’s Largest Beaver Dam

A rodent species, a large beaver walking over the beaver dam.

The largest beaver dam ever constructed can be seen from space!


For measuring the rate of permafrost melting, Canadian ecologist Jean Thie turned to Google Earth and NASA satellite photographs, where he came across images of what appears to be a beaver dam from space! The dam is in northern Alberta, Canada, in a secluded part of Wood Buffalo National Park.

9. Our Environment Is Improved By The Presence Of Beaver Wetlands

Beaver building a beaver lodge

Beaver dams help the wetlands in many ways.

©Rejean Bedard/Shutterstock.com

When beavers erect dams for safety, they produce wetlands. These operate as the kidneys of the earth, filtering water and soaking up excess rainfall and floodwaters. Wetlands not only store water for animals but also help stop the spread of wildfires. Beavers are vital to our ecosystem!

10. Man Is Their Biggest Threat

Beavers are among the countless animals put in danger by modernization and human development.

©Dickbauch – Public Domain

Modernization from humankind has harmed the habitats of many animals, and beavers are among those endangered by deforestation and pollution. Beavers as well as other creatures are losing their habitats. This could cause extinction if we are not careful.

Beavers aren’t exempt from the food chain either. Foxes, coyotes, otters, bobcats, and the green-horned owl hunt beavers. However, beavers are good at fending off predators with their intricate structures and proximity to water.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/TatianaMironenko

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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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