There are a few really interesting facts about beavers that I’m willing to bet you never knew.
What you already know, most likely, is that they are classified as a rodent, the second largest in the world, in fact (after the capybara). Unfortunately, over the years, the once prolific population of over 60 million beavers has declined to approximately 12 million, primarily because of extensive hunting. Beavers are hunted for their fur, and their glands are used for perfume and medicinal purposes.
They can be found primarily in North America, and are known for their remarkable ability to stay underwater for as long as 15 minutes. These little engineers are always busy, finding a suitable habitat and then building their dams by making use of logs, branches and mud to block streams and create a pond for themselves to live in. They have a remarkable ability to manipulate their environment, second only to humans.
Keep reading for a few more incredible beaver facts:
THEY WERE ONCE REALLY LARGE CREATURES
Back in the days of the Ice Age, beavers used to be really big – weighing up to 90 kilograms and measuring approximately 8 feet long.
THEY SMELL LIKE VANILLA
The chemical, Castoreum, is secreted through their castor sacs (beneath their tail). It is sometimes used in vanilla flavouring.
THEY ARE MONOGAMOUS
It’s quite a romantic tale: a young beaver male will search for a mate, and create a family and a whole beaver family lives in a single dam!
THEIR FRONT TEETH ARE ORANGE
Because they use their teeth to gnaw through tree trunks, it’s essential that they have super-strong teeth. The enamel that covers their teeth helps to make them strong and sharp, and because it contains such a large amount of iron to give them this strength, they end up being orange in colour.
THEIR TAILS SERVE MORE THAN ONE PURPOSE
Their tail is useful on land as well as in water. When they swim, their tail slaps against the water to serve as a rudder. This also serves to warn other beavers of a nearby predator. When they’re on land, the tail props the beaver upright so that it doesn’t fall over when it’s carrying logs and such with its teeth.
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