Did you know? The beaver is North America’s largest rodent, weighing up to 60 pounds and measuring 2–2.5 feet long. This is large by today’s standard but his ancestor the Giant Beaver of North America weight 200-274 pounds and was 6-7 feet long.
The beaver is North America’s largest rodent, weighing up to 60 lbs and measuring 25-30 inches long.
Beavers are well adapted to life in the water. Their webbed feet, waterproof fur, clear “third-eyelids,” and flattened, rudder-like tail enable them to be excellent swimmers. Their huge front teeth help them to cut through hard woods like maple and oak. These teeth grow throughout the animal’s lifetime and are necessary for survival.
This furbearer occurs in forested ponds, lakes, and rivers with the highest abundance being found in the eastern and western portions of Ohio. Beavers living along a river make burrows with an underwater entrance in the riverbank; those in streams, lakes and ponds usually build dams that generally incorporate a lodge, which has one or more underwater entrances and living quarters in a hollow near the top. Wood chips on the floor absorb excess moisture and a vent admits fresh air. Typical foods include poplar, aspen, willow, birch, and maple trees.
This furbearer occurs in forested ponds, lakes and rivers with the highest abundance being found in the eastern and southern portions of Ohio. The statewide population trend has been stable to increasing over the past 10 years. Relatively high populations of beaver will continue to provide opportunities to harvest and observe this species during 2012-13.
The beaver existed in ponds, streams and rivers throughout, not only Ohio, but also most of North America. Prehistoric Native Americans used them for fur and food. Historic Native Americans also hunted them for the meat in their large, flat tails and for their pelts. They began to trade pelts to Europeans they encountered. The European explorers of North America wanted fur more than any other resource. Including timber, gold, or land. From the 1600s to the 1800s, the beautifully thick, water repellent beaver pelt was prized in Europe and America, especially in the making of tall, beaver felt hats. Also, their strong musk glands produce castoreum, used in making perfumes. For a long time, beaver pelts were used as money. The cost of a rifle was a pile of beaver skins the same height as the gun. The intense competition for control of the fur trade between tribes and the French and English was a major cause of the Beaver Wars.
The heaviest trapping occurred in Ohio between 1750 and 1800. By 1830, the beaver was extirpated from Ohio.
It was over 100 years before evidence of beaver in Ohio was seen again. The first was in Ashtabula County in 1936. After a beaver dam caused flooding in 1946 in Columbiana County, a study revealed that there were approximately 100 beaver in eleven Ohio counties. By the early 1970s, populations had increased to over 5,000 beaver in thirty-seven counties. Just a few years later, an estimated 7,500 beaver could be found in forty Ohio counties, especially in eastern and southeastern areas of the state. Since 1961 there has been limited beaver trapping allowed in Ohio.
Best Viewing & Trapping Opportunities
- Grand River Wildlife Area, Ashtabula County
- Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area, Trumbull County
- Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area, Wayne & Holmes counties
- Egypt Valley Wildlife Area, Belmont & Guernsey counties
- Spring Valley Wildlife Area, Greene & Warren counties
Fun Facts about Beavers.
- Besides man, the beaver is one of the few animals that can change their environment to benefit themselves.
- Beaver dams exceed three hundred feet long, and one record dam in Montana was 2,140 feet long.
- Nose and ear valvesshut to keep out water.
- They have a set of transparent eyelids which allow them to see under water.
- The large front teeth of the beaver never stop growing. The beavers constant gnawing on wood helps to keep their teeth from growing too long.
Information on this page was gathered from the below website.
For more information on the American Beaver and other important Ohio wildlife go to http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/species-and-habitats/species-guide-index