Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Phillip Elden: Beavers Are Actually Rodents

Phillip Elden

Beavers are cute, water-dwelling mammals, but most people don’t realize they are actually part of the rodent family. According to nature expert Phillip Elden, despite their affiliation with mice and rats, beavers are highly interesting, and they are one of the most adaptable animals in the U.S. 
Phillip Elden explains that the American beaver weighs around 60 pounds and can grow close to 40 inches long. Add in a tail, and a large beaver may be closer to 52 inches in total length. Eurasian beavers are similar in size but can grow to an astounding 77 pounds. Each type of beaver has long teeth, up to around 1 inch in length. Interestingly, beavers’ teeth grow throughout their lifetime. 
Beavers can make their habitats anywhere there’s water. The vast majority of American beavers, which can live throughout the United States as far north as Canada, make their home around ponds, swamps, marshes, rivers, and lakes. Their Eurasian beaver cousins are significantly dwindling in population and, today, can only be found in certain parts of Germany, Poland, France, Russia, and Scandinavia. 

Phillip Elden explains that beaver homes are called lodges. These are large, dome-shaped domiciles, which are made from piecing together woven sticks, moss, and grass. They typically have an underwater access and hover just above water level. 
Beavers are mostly nocturnal animals, and they spend the vast majority of their awake time working, eating, and playing. Unfortunately, all of this busywork can take a significant effect on the hundreds of acres surrounding a beaver’s habitat area. Phillip Elden explains that when beavers build dams, which can be up to 7 feet tall, and dig canals, they can alter the flow of rivers and streams. Dams also negatively impact erosion control efforts. 
Ultimately, it is up to humans to adequately maintain the beaver population on their land. Although once considered endangered, beavers are no longer at the brink of extinction, and responsible cohabitation is the best way to maintain their populations, says Phillip Elden.