5 Cool Things about Iowa’s Beavers

Beavers in Iowa are native to Iowa and has recovered since the 1800s when they were extirpated due to the fur trade. Here are 5 cool facts about beavers for you to share with anyone and everyone.

beaver in water

Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash

  1. Their teeth are self-sharpening and continuously grow

Their teeth grow for the entire life of the beaver and are only kept nice because they use them daily. They also have a coating of enamel which helps to protect them and makes them look orange. Since this enamel keeps the teeth strong, the softer part of the tooth wears away from daily use which makes them a chiseled shape.

  1. Beavers have many ways to keep dry

Beaver’s nostrils and ears are valvular. This means they can be closed to keep the water out. Since beavers are in water so often, they need to keep the water out. They also have a natural oil they emit onto their fur to keep them dry. It’s called castor and has a very distinct smell.

  1. Beavers are rodents

Beavers are the largest rodent in North America. Beavers can be between 3 and 4 feet long and weigh as much as 60 pounds. That is the equivalent of a medium-sized dog. They can live up to 24 years in the wild.

  1. Beavers build and live in lodges

Much like the dam’s beavers make, they make lodges to live in. They are typically in the middle of ponds or lakes and have underwater entrances. These lodges tend to house extended families of beavers. Beavers are monogamous and have kits who stay in the lodges. They’re in the middle of the water with underwater entrances to keep the beavers safe.

  1. Beavers eat wood among other things

While beavers use wood to make dams and lodges, they also will eat tree bark and the softwood underneath. They eat other plants with woody stems, aquatic plants, and the leaves of different plants. They also store food items in their lodges during the winter. They store these sticks on the muddy floor bottom to keep the wood and leaves fresh and to be able to stay in the lodge as much as possible during the cold months.

Beavers are often seen as pests or a nuisance because they alter the landscape and tend to flood basements of nearby houses, but they’re very good for water quality. They’re surprisingly cool animals and deserve more credit.