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Canada's Species   Mammals

American Beaver

Castor canadensis

American Beaver. Photo:Peter Mirejovsky
American Beaver. Photo:Peter Mirejovsky

The beaver is the national emblem of Canada, and rightfully so. No other mammal except for man has the vast distribution that the beaver has. Their range in Canada extends from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island. In the past the beaver was of great economic importance as its pelt was greatly in demand. Declining demand for beaver pelts have led to changing harvest levels; in the past, trapping was an effective means of population control, but now trapping is far less popular and has led to the uncontrolled explosion of the beaver population causing them to become a pest in some instances. Beaver are extremely social creatures as they always live in dens with other beavers. Their skill at dam construction is outstanding; one dam can withstand the weight of 7 or 8 people. Beavers play a vital part in nature, as they have a role in the natural process of forest succession through their treefelling and flooding. Beavers feed primarily on the bark and wood of trees such as aspens, and during the winter they rely on food reserves which they stockpile in their dens.

Map of American Beaver in Canada
Distribution of American Beaver in Canada

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