American beaver in exhibit

American Beaver

Scientific Name

Castor canadensis canadensis

Class

Mammalia

Order

Rodentia

Range

North America

Habitat

Wetlands and forests

Estimated Wild Population

American beaver in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

American beavers are brown, semiaquatic rodents that can weigh up to 71 pounds and reach up to three feet in length, not including their tail. Beavers, as a whole, are one of the few animals that can actively change an ecosystem. Well-known for their ability to build dams, they block waterways with trees and mud, often creating new lakes, ponds, and floodplains. They also build homes, called lodges, out of branches and mud. These structures are often only accessible from underwater entrances.

Interesting Fact 1

The American beaver is the largest rodent in North America and the second-largest in the world, behind only the South American capybara.

Interesting Fact 2

They have a large, flat, paddle-shaped tail and large, webbed hind feet that help with swimming. Their unwebbed, highly dexterous front paws allow them to dig and manipulate plant materials, like sticks.

Interesting Fact 3

Their eyes are covered by a membrane that lets them see under water, and they can seal their nostrils and ears while submerged.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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Commitment to Care

Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

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When you ADOPT an animal, you support world-class animal care by helping to provide specially formulated diets, new habitat elements, and regular veterinary checkups.

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Wish List

The Wish List is full of one-of-a-kind items for the zoo’s animals, including nutritious snacks and enrichment items to keep them active and healthy. 

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Take Action With Us

Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.

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