Canadian beavers are found throughout Canada, north to the mouths of the Mackenzie and Coppermine rivers on the Arctic Ocean.

They have been considered Canada’s national icon for 300 years.


Here we answer some of the frequently asked questions about these amazing animals.

Without further ado, let’s get onto it…

Is beaver the official national symbol of Canada?

Yes, the Canadian beaver is the official national symbol of Canada.

The beaver was made the national symbol on March 24, 1975 by a private member’s bill introduced in the House of Commons by Sean O’Sullivan and seconded by Joe Clark.

canadian beaver

“The purpose of this bill is to recognize the beaver as one of the symbols of Canada’s sovereignty.

The importance of the beaver to the discoveries, explorations and settlements first made in Canada is, of course, basic to our history,” they argued.

It’s been said that the bill was hastily introduced after word got out that New York state was planning to make the beaver its state animal.

What is the largest beaver dam ever made?

Believe it or not, the largest beaver dam in Canada is so enormous that it can be seen from space.

A Canadian-based ecologist Jean Thie has located the world’s largest beaver dam in the world by using Google Earth and NASA satellite imagery while researching the rate of melting permafrost in the north part of Canada.

The dam is about 850 meters (2,800 feet) long from end to end. It is located in  Wood Buffalo National Park in northeastern Alberta, Canada

Average beaver dams in Canada are 10 to 100 meters long, and only rarely do they reach 500 meters.

The dam is believed to be a multi-generational building project. It is estimated that the construction of the dam started in 1975 and was largely completed by 1990.

How big are Canadian beavers?

large beaver

The beaver is Canada’s largest rodent and the second-largest rodent in the world after capybaras of South America.

Compared to rodents such as rats and mice, beavers are enormous.

On average, an adult beaver weighs from 16 to 32 kg. Some may even weigh more than 40 kg.

Beavers can reach a length of over 40 inches, including the tail.

Baby beavers are called kits and they weigh up to one pound when born and are about 7 inches long.

What do beavers eat?


Beavers are herbivores that mainly eat plant-based foods.

Contrary to popular belief beavers don’t eat wood. They do however eat parts of trees, including the outer bark layer and the cambium layer – the soft tissue that grows under the bark of a tree.

Beavers’ stomachs contain symbiotic bacteria that can break down the cellulose in the tree bark and twigs.

Depending on food availability beavers may also eat grasses, fruits, vegetables, fungi, and grains.

During the fall months, beavers eat much more bark than usual to help them fatten up for the cold and long months of winter.

Why beavers cut down trees?

beaver cutting tree

Beavers mainly cut down trees for food. They also use the left over branches as the building materials for their dams and lodges.

Beavers are not really good at climbing trees. So, in order to reach those tasty lush green leaves, they have to cut the tree down and bring the top of it to their level.

Beavers also cut down trees in order to use them as the building material for their dams and lodges.

They build dams and lodges so they have a place to rest and hide from natural predators like coyotes, foxes, great-horned owls, or bobcats.

Here is a great video explaining how beavers build dams:

Can you hunt beavers in Canada?

beaver hunting

Yes! It is allowed to hunt beavers during all seasons on privately owned land by the owner or occupant of the land.

It is also allowed to hunt beavers on other people’s property providing you have a written permission from the owner or occupant of the land.

Trapping beavers is allowed under a Fur Management Licence during an open season or by someone who holds a Damage Control Licence – a licence that authorizes the removal of beavers outside of normal trapping seasons.

How long does it take for a beaver to chew down a tree?

Canadian beavers work incredibly fast when it comes to cutting down trees. Not even large trees can cope with their incredibly strong teeth, as they can chew down a tree in as little as 5 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the tree.

They can gnaw through a cottonwood tree that is two feet in diameter in less than an hour.

Beavers prefer smaller trees with a diameter of less than 5 inches because the bark of such tress is much more nutritious.

A beaver will usually work alone to cut down a tree, but a colony of beavers will join together to break up sections of the tree.

The sections of the tree are then used as food reserves or as construction material for building lodges and dams.

Here you can watch how beavers actually cut down trees:

Categories: Wildlife


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