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American Beaver

How’d you do with yesterday’s Mystery Monday?

If you took a guess, the answer is… the American Beaver!

American Beavers (Castor canadensis) are most recognizable for their flat, sturdy tails and huge, bright orange teeth! Their tails are used not only to help them swim, but it can also be used to make an alarm call by slapping it on top of the water if they sense danger is nearby. Their orange teeth are fortified with iron, making them very strong and giving them that bright color. Beavers sure are as tough as iron!



In addition to using their tails to swim, their webbed feet, waterproof fur, nostrils and ears that they can close, and transparent “third eyelid,” (nictitating membrane), allow beavers to be very well adapted for life in and around the water.

But what do they do with the trees that they take down, like the stumps found at the Sebald Area of Elk Creek MetroPark? Much of the tree is used to build their homes, called dams. Other parts of the tree, such as the bark and softer tissue underneath the bark, called the cambium, are eaten by the beaver.



Being North America’s largest rodent at up to 60 pounds in weight, this sizable mammal is a neat find in the MetroParks! Signs of beavers have also been found at Gilmore MetroPark, Indian Creek MetroPark, and Rentschler Forest MetroPark, to name just a few, in addition to our friend at Elk Creek MetroPark!