Beavers (family Castoridae
) are large (30-60 pound) rodents with webbed hind feet and broad, scaly, flattened tails.
, Castor canadensis carolinensis
, is found in streams, swamps, lakes, and bayous with trees nearby in the panhandle and eastward to the Suwannee River. It is dark brown with a gray undercoat and gray tan underside. On the inner toes of the hind feet, there are double claws which are used for grooming. The front sides of the incisors are yellow-orange to deep orange. It is 40-50" overall with a 15-18" tail.
It is nocturnal and feeds on the inner bark, twigs, and buds of trees including tupelo gum
, sweet bay, elm
, loblolly and spruce pines
, box elder
, yaupon holly
, wax myrtle
, chinaberry, and cottonwood. It will cut down trees with trunks 1-6" in diameter. Other foods include aquatic plants, cattails, and acorns
It builds dams from the trees it cuts down, cutting the limbs and branches into manageable pieces and dragging or floating them to the dam. Most beavers don't build lodges but live in deep dens in stream banks. The entrances are underwater with a tunnel sloping upward to a dry living chamber.
Beavers live in family groupings composed of the mother, father, and two generations of offspring. Mates are often monogamous, breeding in December or January. Just before the litter (1-8 kits) is due, about 4 months later, the parents drive the yearlings away. The kits, weighing about a pound each, can swim the day they are born.
Young beavers are preyed on by alligators and large carnivores. Man is the primary predator of adult beavers.
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