7 Facts to Know For International Beaver Day

If you haven’t stopped to appreciate the benefits of having beavers in the world, today’s a good opportunity to do so. International Beaver Day, which was first launched in 2009 by a non-profit organization called Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife (BWW), celebrates the rodent’s environmental contributions and its important role in landscapes.

The dams that beavers build can in turn create and restore wetlands, which protect and filter our drinking water, provide wildlife habitats, store flood waters to reduce property damage and maintain surface water flow during droughts. Beavers were once endangered throughout much of their range, but have made a remarkable comeback over the last century. In North America, they can even be found in rivers and creeks within many major cities.

Beaver (Photo by the Nature Conservancy of Canada)

Beaver (Photo by the Nature Conservancy of Canada)

BWW declared April 7 International Beaver Day to honour Dorothy Richards, also known as the “Beaver Woman,” whose birthday fell on the same day. Before her death in 1985, Richards studied beavers for 50 years, had two consecutive beaver families living in an addition to her house and wrote a book called Beaversprite: My Years Building an Animal Sanctuary.

To celebrate International Beaver Day, here are seven facts about these iconic and industrious rodents:

  1. Beavers can stay underwater for 15 minutes without coming up for air.
  2. The beaver is Canada’s biggest rodent and the second-largest on the planet.
  3. Beavers’ transparent eyelids work like goggles, by protecting their eyeballs as they swim underwater.
  4. The beaver has been Canada’s national symbol for more than 300 years.
  5. Beavers’ ear openings and nostrils have valves that can be closed when underwater.
  6. The world’s largest beaver dam is 850 meters long and located in Wood Buffalo National Park.
  7. Beavers sharpen their incisors (teeth) by grinding them against one another.

This post was written by Adam Hunter and originally appeared on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s blog, Land Lines.

Post photo credit: Beaver carries a willow branch across the water (Photo by Steve Hillebrand)

92 comments

Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago

thanks

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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Patrice Z
Patrice Z2 years ago

I love finding beaver dams in out of the way places. The beavers are fun to watch, and, yes, other wildlife abounds in the area. Thanks for posting.

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Laure S
Laura S2 years ago

Beavers are Oregon's state animals. They've shown that letting beavers do their thing helps prevent droughts.

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Ciaron D
Ciaron D2 years ago

I really wonder why Canada does not have a mention of the beaver in that god awful dirge oh Canada. Still as the only song about Beavers I know is Beaver Patrol by The Wilde Knights but it is not really anything about the rodent, but does describe a Saturday night in many Canadian cities.

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Joshua A
Joshua A2 years ago

I've read nature and environmental books about beavers, and they are indeed very important species. They could be considered keystone species due to their ability to make and restore wetlands, and provide habitat for all kinds of wildlife due to their hard work, which I have to say is pretty amazing for a creature that size.

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Christian Menges
Christian Menges2 years ago

Nice boys.

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Lola P
Lola P2 years ago

Thanks for the facts!

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RONALD Walker
RONALD Walker2 years ago

I only wish everyone could see how has changed with the Beaver making a strong comeback. during spring runoff the water is clear and drinkable! The spring runoff is longer and less flooding. Fishing in Beaver pond is great! Wildlife is everywhere! With the return of the wolf, the population has grown. The cycle has returned and our wildlands is much better for all wildlife.

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Angela AWAY o
Angela K2 years ago

thanks for sharing

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