Absolute construction geniuses, beavers earn our admiration for their ability to lift dams: nothing a good hydraulic engineer can do escapes the knowledge of these wonderful rodents. Turn a river into a lake? That is their specialty. They dedicate their talent to modifying the landscape in a way that is unattainable for most animals. When they find favorable sites, beavers dig their lodges on the banks of rivers and lakes.
Because beavers build their lodges in the middle of ponds, and can only be accessed through underwater entrances, so they know how to swim very well. But how long can they stay underwater? Discover it here.
Why Do Beavers Make Their Burrows in The Middle of Rivers and Lakes?
Their dome-shaped lodges are made of tree branches and mud. You can see them in the middle of ponds and can come and go underwater. According to National Geographic, “these lodges are home to large families of monogamous parents, young beavers, and the young born the previous spring.”
Beavers are essentially aquatic in their activities, never traveling on land unless necessary. They choose lagoons or rivers whose depth is more than one meter to start their work and the main reason why they choose water is to protect themselves from predators, such as coyotes, wolves, and bears. However, for the construction of their lodges, they build a barrier with the function of stopping the flow of the current, to create a pond with calm waters where beavers can easily build their homes.
How Long Can Beavers Stay Under Water?
Because lodge entrances are underwater to prevent them from being blocked when the pond surface freezes and to make entry of other animals nearly impossible, beavers must be able to hold their breath underwater.
On land, this large rodent is a bit slow, but it is agile in the water. That is why, National Geographic says “They can stay underwater for about 15 minutes without coming to the surface, and they have transparent eyelids that double as diving goggles.” Their skin is naturally greasy and waterproof which protects them when is snowing.
Some More Facts About Beavers
Did you know that every April 7th International Beaver Day is celebrated?
This date derives from the day of birth of Dorothy Richards, who spent more than 50 years learning and studying this fun and interesting animal. This celebration also aims to raise awareness and inform the population about the importance of this rodent that fights against drought, maintains river currents, and conserves ecosystems.
On the occasion of the celebration of its International Day, we mention 5 curious facts about beavers that you probably do not know:
- It is the largest rodent in North America and an emblem in Canada.
- Although beavers are rodents very similar to squirrels, they also have similarities to fish. In 1760 the Faculty of Medicine and Theology of Paris classified the beaver as a fish because of its scaly tail.
- The beaver is vegetarian, it only eats plants and trees.
- The eyelids of this rodent are transparent to be able to see underwater.
- The largest dam built by beavers was discovered through satellite images. It was located in Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada, and was 853 meters long.
Although beavers have lung respiration, they can hold their breath underwater for 15 minutes. This, in addition to their ability to build dikes in the water, makes them very skilled animals.