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either of two large aquatic rodentsrodent,
member of the mammalian order Rodentia, characterized by front teeth adapted for gnawing and cheek teeth adapted for chewing. The Rodentia is by far the largest mammalian order; nearly half of all mammal species are rodents.
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, Castor fiber and Castor canadensis, known for their engineering feats. They were once widespread in N and central Eurasia except E Siberia, and in North America from the arctic tree line to the S United States. The mountain beavermountain beaver,
stout, short-limbed North American rodent, Aplodontia rufa, not closely related to the true beaver. Also called sewellel beaver after the Chinook word for a robe made from its pelts, it is among the most primitive of the rodents and the only living member
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 of W North America is not a true beaver, but a nonaquatic rodent of a different family.

The beaver is the largest living rodent except the capybaracapybara
, mammal of Central and much of South America. It is the largest living member of the order Rodentia (the rodents) reaching a length of 4 ft (120 cm) and a weight of 75 to 100 lb (34–45 kg).
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, and is distinguished by its extremely broad, horizontally flattened tail. Beavers are 3 to 4 ft (91–120 cm) long, including the tail (12 in./30.5 cm long, 6 in./15.2 cm wide), and about 15 in. (38 cm) high at the shoulder; they usually weigh about 60 lb (27 kg). Their long, dense fur is reddish brown to nearly black; the naked, scaly tail is black. Both sexes have scent glands located in a pouch in the anal region. The musky secretion, castoreum, which may function as a sexual attractant, was once believed to have medicinal properties, and the glands, or castors, were of commercial value. Beavers have been extensively trapped for their pelts, once considered the most valuable of furs, and were exterminated over a large part of their range. Because of their great importance in maintaining the natural environment, they have been reintroduced in many areas of North America and Russia and are now increasing in numbers. Beavers were also introduced, for the fur trade, into Tierra del Fuego, where they have become an invasive pest and caused significant ecological damage.

Beavers build lodges up to 3 ft (91 cm) high and 5 ft (1.5 m) wide of sticks and mud; the entrances are below water level, with ramps leading to the living quarters, located on a platform above water level. They may also build burrows in banks with underwater entrances. They create deep ponds, or maintain the water level in old ones, by building dams across streams. These are made of sticks and logs, and the upper surfaces are reinforced with stones and mud. Materials are gathered by collecting wood and felling small trees by gnawing; often the beavers dig canals for floating these to the right spot. Most, if not all, of these activities are done mechanically, as a result of instinct; captive animals persist in building useless dams, and even in the wild beavers will attempt to reinforce solid, manmade dams with sticks.

Although they form monogamous families and live in colonies, there is little social contact among beavers and they work independently. A colony consists of a cluster of lodges, each occupied by a family of the parents and their last two litters. The beavers sleep by day and spend the night foraging for food and building or repairing their structures. They feed on a variety of aquatic and shore plants, surviving in winter largely on bark. Sticks for winter food are stored in the lodges and underwater. Excellent swimmers, they can stay underwater for up to fifteen minutes. When alarmed, a beaver slaps the water with its tail, making a loud noise that sends other beavers hurrying to the safety of deep water. Females give birth to two to eight young in the spring; these mature in two years. Beavers are responsible for creating many of the woodland ponds that support lush vegetation and eventually become meadows.


Beavers are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Rodentia, family Castoridae.


See L. Wilsson, My Beaver Colony (tr. 1968), Grey Owl, Pilgrims of the Wild (1935, repr. 1971).



(Castor fiber), a mammal of the order of rodents. The beaver is well adapted to a semiaquatic way of life. Its body measures as much as 100 cm in length, its tail 30 cm in length, and its weight 30 kg. The tail, thickened from the top down, is up to 15 cm wide and almost hairless, but covered with large horny scutes. The toes on the hind legs are joined by a wide swimming membrane. The beaver has a valuable pelt, consisting of shiny coarse awn hairs and a very thick silky undercoat. The color ranges from light chestnut to dark brown or sometimes black (melanism).

In prehistoric times beavers were distributed throughout most of Europe, southern Siberia, and parts of Middle Asia, as well as through almost all of North America. (The American beaver is apparently a special type of C. canadensis.) As a result of rapacious trapping, only defined settlements of beavers are preserved in Europe and Asia; in North America beavers are quite numerous. Until 1917 there were only a few hundred beavers in the USSR. Because of preservation and reclamation the population of beavers in the USSR grows every year and had reached 50,000 by the 1960’s. Beavers are encountered in most of the oblasts of the European part of the USSR and in some raions of Siberia. (There the range of beavers is increasing slowly.) Beavers live along quiet forest rivers with banks overgrown by willows, pines, birch, poplars, and other trees, the sprouts and bark of which the beavers feed on most of the year. In the summer they eat grass. They are able to cut down thick trees. They live in earthen dens and in “lodges”—heaps of twigs, silt, and earth (up to 2.5 m high and 12 m at the base), with several internal chambers and underwater entrances. On small rivers they build dams and cut canals to float the branches and stumps of the trees they fell. They are monogamous and have a gestation period of 105–107 days. The young (three or four to a litter) are born half-blind and well covered. They can swim after a day or two. Beavers live up to 35 years (in captivity). They are valued for their beautiful, warm, and very durable fur. In the USA there is severely limited hunting of the animals. In the USSR beaver preserves have been created (the Voronezh, Byelorussian, and Kondo-Sos’vin preserves). Because of the growth of the population in the USSR, severely limited trapping of beavers for their pelts was begun in places in the 1960’s.


Ognev, S. I. Zveri SSSR i prilezhashchikh stran, vol. 5. Moscow, 1947.
Kolosov, A. M., and N. P. Lavrov. Obogashchenie promyslovoi fauny SSSR. Moscow, 1968.


What does it mean when you dream about a beaver?

Beavers have many different symbolic possibilities. In particular, our culture tends to associate beavers with industriousness, as in the expression “busy as a beaver.” In slang usage, this animal also has sexual connotations. Finally, beavers build dams which, because emotions are often symbolized by water, can indicate building emotional barriers.


(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for two different and unrelated species of rodents, the mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa) and the true or common beaver (Castor canadensis).


perpetually and eagerly active. [Western Folklore: Jobes, 192]


mischievous ten-year-old beset by trivial troubles. [TV: “Leave It to Beaver” in Terrace, II, 18–19]


1. a large amphibious rodent, Castor fiber, of Europe, Asia, and North America: family Castoridae. It has soft brown fur, a broad flat hairless tail, and webbed hind feet, and constructs complex dams and houses (lodges) in rivers
2. the fur of this animal
3. mountain beaver a burrowing rodent, Aplodontia rufa, of W North America: family Aplodontidae
4. a woollen napped cloth resembling beaver fur, formerly much used for overcoats, etc
5. a greyish- or yellowish-brown


Beavers are very busy animals. They gnaw all day and build their homes. They are generally not considered to be friendly animals. All of their hard work is focused on isolating and protecting themselves. When dreaming about these animals, consider those characteristics and try to see how they are relevant to you or someone in your life. Is there isolation and “blocking” up of feelings and self-expression going on around you? Or is something “gnawing” at you that you can no longer ignore? If you can answer these questions, you will have a better understanding of your dream.
References in periodicals archive ?
commissioner of the Worcester Department of Public Works, said street flooding was an issue earlier in September from the two storms, but it wasn't attributable to beavers.
Upon graduation from basic military training, TSgt Beavers attended financial management technical training at Sheppard AFB, then hit the ground running as a vendor pay technician at Davis-Monthan AFB.
Martin Mere is one of nine UK centres run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and in addition to the beavers, boasts over 100 types of rare and endangered water-birds.
Only through careful planning and sound science will we maintain a healthy balance between beavers and humans, and establish and manage sustained beaver populations, much like the Native Americans did centuries ago.
Honestly, when you hear or read the word beaver, what comes to mind?
Although the beavers shown in the schematic diagram correctly show the different shapes of the animals, including the giant beaver's otterlike tail, they were drawn slightly out of proportion, which is why your mass estimate was high.
On the other hand, more and more people are learning to love the way beavers restore fish habitat and help maintain stream flows during summer months.
Young members of a Birmingham Beaver group can now find their way when camping at night thanks to a pounds 250 donation from a city-based business.
The beavers were among 11 from Norway released as part of a programme to reintroduce the animal to Scotland, where they have not been seen in the wilds for 400 years.
Today, scientists estimate that there are more than 10 million beavers worldwide, damming rivers and streams to their hearts' content.
Natural England, the Government agency responsible, has decreed that the beavers living on the ironically named river Otter in Devon can stay.
BEAVERS will be allowed to continue living wild on a river in Devon after government agency Natural England gave the green light to a five-year trial.