North American Beaver

Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Castor canadensis

Habitat: North American beavers can be found in wooded areas throughout the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico.

Diet: North American beavers primarily eat tree bark and cambium. 

Size: 1 to 1.5 feet tall / 3 to 4 feet long

Weight: 24 to 71 pounds

Lifespan: 10.6 years according to AZA Species Survival Statistics

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Least Concern – a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to be pervasive, abundant, and thriving.

Our Beaver:

Frances (Male) – Born May 14, 2018

Jolene (Female) – Estimated Date of Birth March 2021

About North American Beavers:

While beavers are the largest rodent in North America, there are actually 2 species that can be found in North America, Europe, and Asia. While in North America beavers were almost hunted to extinction due to the high demand for beaver pelts, meat, and castoreum (or scent glands) among early European colonists, beavers have since made a comeback. They are typically found in protected dams near bodies of water, the entrances of which are typically underwater.

Did You Know?!

  • Beaver’s front teeth are orange because their enamel contains iron to strengthen them and allow them to self sharpen as they gnaw on wood.
  • Beavers can shut their nose and ear valves to keep out water while submerged AND they have a set of transparent eyelids that function as goggles so that they can see underwater. These traits allow them to stay below the surface for 15 minutes without surfacing.
  • Beaver castoreum (or scent glands) were used as a tincture in some perfumes and occasionally as a food additive into the early 1900s.

The Utica Zoo is closed for Thanksgiving (11/23)! Happy Thanksgiving from all of our staff and animals!

The Zoo will re-open on 11/24 at 10 am.