Beavers are rotund creatures with broad, paddle-like tails. They’re known for building dams and lodges, which protect their young in summer and themselves during winter. They’re also able to stay submerged underwater for minutes at a time, thanks to their large lungs.
Their fur looks messy and ungroomed, but it’s incredibly slick – allowing beavers to move quickly through the water. They have a layer of long guard hairs that covers an inner layer of wooly underfur, and their hind feet are webbed to help them swim.
Beavers build structures called lodges, where they sleep and give birth. Located partially above and underwater, the lodge begins as a mound of sticks, branches, and mud piled up by the beavers. Beavers often line their lodge with reeds or cattails to create a comfortable home that offers protection from predators such as mountain lions, coyotes, and bears.
The lodge contains a living space, where the beavers store food and bedding materials, as well as a bedroom where they sleep. When the weather is warm, beavers may spend the day in the pond, where they feed on aquatic plants like lily pads and water weeds.
If the weather is cold, beavers will spend the night in their lodges. If they’re finishing a job that takes a long time, such as constructing a dam or caching food for winter, they may not sleep until their work is complete. They’re crepuscular, meaning they are active at dusk and dawn.