Natural lumberjacks, beavers have great impact on their environment as they fell trees to build their dams and lodges. Their constructions block water flow and flood the surrounding area, creating wetlands that rapidly become biodiversity hotspots. The beavers use the resulting deep, slow-moving water as predator protection and for floating food and building materials along. There are two beaver species, one native to North America and the other to Europe and Asia. Beavers are the world's second-largest rodents after the capybara, with the European species slightly out-sizing its American cousin. Both species were once heavily hunted for their fur and scent glands.
Scientific name: Castor
The following habitats are found across the Beavers distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
The beaver (genus Castor) is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American beaver (Castor canadensis) (native to North America) and Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) (Eurasia). Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges (homes). They are the second-largest rodent in the world (after the capybara). Their colonies create one or more dams to provide still, deep water to protect against predators, and to float food and building material. The North American beaver population was once more than 60 million, but as of 1988 was 6–12 million. This population decline is due to extensive hunting for fur, for glands used as medicine and perfume, and because their harvesting of trees and flooding of waterways may interfere with other land uses.
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