Beavers are semi-aquatic mammals that live throughout most of North America. Beavers are most noted for their exceptionally long teeth and their flattened, paddle-like tails. Beavers use their long teeth to obtain food and to fell trees for the construction of dams and lodges.
Beavers make dams to raise the level of water in an area, which provides them with some protection from predators. If a predator approaches, beavers slap their tails on the water’s surface or the ground to produce an alarm-like sound. After doing this, the beavers dive underwater to enter their homes, called lodges. By making the lodge entrance underwater, beavers receive even more protection from predators.
Beavers derive their food from trees. They not only eat bark, they also eat a substance called cambium. Cambium is the layer of rapidly dividing cells that is located immediately under the outer bark of the trees. Poplar, willow and maple are some of their favorite species, but they also eat alder, ash and aspen tree bark.
Beavers often live with other beavers. The young remain in their parent’s care for one or two years before setting out to find their own habitats. The adults are monogamous for life, but they find other breeding partners if their mate dies.