Zoo Animals

American beaver

Castor canadensis

At the Detroit Zoo
A family of nine American beavers resides at the Jane and Frank Warchol Beaver Habitat on the northern edge of the Cotton Family Wetlands. Male Ward and female Eve – born in 2011 and 2013, respectively – arrived in 2013, marking the first time the Zoo has had American beavers since 1969. Three kits – males BB8 and Chewy and female Wicket – were born in 2016. An additional four yet-to-be-named kits were born in 2017.

Description
The largest rodent in North America has a lustrous reddish- or blackish-brown, waterproof fur coat, webbed hind feet and a broad, flat, scaly tail that is roughly 10 inches long. The beaver has a disproportionately large skull and four powerful, orange-colored teeth – two upper and two lower incisors – that are used to gnaw on tree bark. Its small, round ears can close to keep water out.

Fun Facts

  • Beavers are one of only three “keystone” species – along with elephants and humans – that have the ability to change the earth’s landscape.