The beaver is the national animal of Canada but is beloved worldwide. This furry animal can be found in North America as well as Europe and Asia. Unfortunately, this animal has been declining in population for several years. Hence, International Beaver Day was created to raise awareness for this amazing animal. International Beaver Day was first celebrated on April 7, 2009. This holiday was created by a nonprofit organization called Beavers: Wetlands & Wildlife. April 7th is also the birthday of Dorothy Richards, a woman who studied beavers for 50 years at the Beaversprite Sanctuary in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. She had worked tirelessly for this organization and helped them accomplish many goals such as creating a 1,300 acre beaver sanctuary and passing pro beaver legislation in many states. On the first celebrated international beaver day this organization also donated almost 1,000 copies of their educational dvd Coexisting with Beavers to schools across the country.
There are two different species of beavers. The first being the North American beaver. The north American beaver is the largest rodent that can be found in North America and can weigh anywhere from 24 to 71 pounds. The second species of beaver is the Eurasian beaver. This species was once widespread across Europe and Asia but was hunted to almost extinction around the beginning of the 20th century. It has mostly recovered its population size in Europe. Despite both the North American and Eurasian beavers being very similar in looks, there many differences between the two. The North American beaver has 40 chromosomes and the eurasian beaver has 48 chromosomes, making them genetically incompatible. Most Eurasian beavers are beige in color compared to the dark brown of North American beavers and also have a larger head than their North American counterparts.
Fun Facts About Beavers
Beavers have orange teeth! In order to continue chewing on wood, beavers need a strong protective coating enamel on their teeth. This enamel is iron rich and often orange in color. Unlike most animals, their teeth grow throughout their life and need to be trimmed through their daily use of gnawing on wood.
Beavers can change their habitat! Beavers are one of the few animals that change the environment around them to create their homes. They often build dams out of sticks, reeds, and branches and use mud to cement it all together. Their changing of the environment also helps create habitat for small fish and other wildlife.
Beavers warn other beavers of danger! Beavers communicate with each other through a variety of ways. They often use scents and sounds to warn other beavers of possible danger. The one they use most often is the tail slap. Typically it is adult beavers who will slap their tails on the water to warn other beavers of a predator. When beavers hear a tail slap they know to go into deeper water while the beaver who slapped their tail may keep doing so in order to frighten the predator away.
Today is a day to celebrate one of our favorite furry animals, the beaver. You can celebrate in a variety of ways including going to a zoo to see a beaver, watching a documentary or maybe finding a local animal conservatory in order to help the beaver continue to thrive.