The beaver is North America’s largest rodent. Their castor glands are located near the base of the tail. They live in the wild about 10-12 years. They grow throughout their lives and may reach 3 to 4 feet. The largest beavers weigh up to 100 pounds.
The heavy beaver keep the animal comfortable in the most severe temperatures. The large tail, when slapped against the water, serves as a danger warning sign. When the beaver stands on its hind legs, the tail acts like a fifth leg used for balance.
The beaver is designed to swim and work under water. Its nose and ear valves close when the beaver is submerged. A beaver can cut and chew submerged wood without getting water in its mouth by drawing its loose lips tightly behind the protruding front teeth.
In order to survive, beavers must be assured of 2 or 3 feet of water year round. Water provides a refuge from enemies. Beavers build canals to float and transport heavy objects such as branches and logs for food and construction. Food for winter use must be stored in underwater food caches.
If water level gets too low, beavers construct dams. Although the average tree used for construction of a dam is 4 to 12 inches across the stump, use of trees up to 150 fees and 5 feet in diameter have been recorded.
Beavers have 2 kinds of homes, the bank den and the lodge which is surrounded by water. They each have a chamber-like room and at least one tunnel exit to deep water so it will be free of ice in winter. The exit provides quick and easy access for food gathering and emergency escape to predators.
Mating is in January or February. One to six kits are born from late Aril to June. Their eyes are open at birth and the kits are covered with soft fur. They can swim immediately. The young beavers live with their parents until they are 2 years old.
Beavers eat bark, aquatic plants, roots and grasses. As they exhaust the food supply in an area, beavers must forage farther from their homes. This increases danger from predators such as wolves, lynx, bears and humans. When an area is cleared of food, the family migrates to a new home.
Beavers create habitat for a lot of other animals such as waterfowl and terrestrial mammals such as moose.
Alaskan Wildlife can be seen in Denali National Park. Kantishna Wilderness Trails provides Alaska Wildlife Day Tours while Kantishna Roadhouse offers Denali lodging and accommodations for Alaska Travel and Alaska Vacations deep into Denali National Park.