American beaver on a grassy shoreline

North American beaver

Nature's own lumberjacks, American beavers fell large trees using nothing more than their strong front teeth. They then use the timber to build their famous dams and lodges. Ground-breaking infra-red filming for the Life of Mammals revealed that beavers willingly share their lodges, and even their food, with another rodent: the muskrat. The beaver's flattened and scaly tail is just one of a number of superb adaptations to their watery habitat. Not content with being North America's biggest rodent, the American beaver is also the world's third largest, out-sized only by its European cousin and by the capybara.

Did you know?
Canada is home to the world's largest beaver dam and at 850m long it can be seen from space.

Scientific name: Castor canadensis

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • American beaver,
  • Canadian beaver

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The North American beaver can be found in a number of locations including: North America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the North American beaver distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Stable

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Mammals
  5. Rodents
  6. Castoridae
  7. Beavers
  8. North American beaver

BBC News about North American beaver