Beavers are undeniably cute. With their two little front teeth and their brown fur and tiny little eyes, anyone would be curious if these adorable animals would be great as pets.
How tame or wild are they?
Will they clash with other animals?
Are they allowed domestically?
Majority of the states in America do not allow beavers to be made as pets.
They are generally wild animals and are not easily trained. Their natural instinct is to gnaw at wood, which would make it extremely difficult for you to keep them settled down at your home.
You would lose all your wooden furniture. They’re not known to attack other animals or children, and as far as we know, they are not predatory species.
But taking care of them is a hassle, to say the least.
Beavers are popular for their dam-building skills. They are great engineers of their own habitat. They get their supply of wood by gnawing through trees in the forest little by little with their sharp teeth.
They eat the sweet layer of the tree barks, gnaw through halfway of the trunk and let gravity take care of the rest.
Their incisor teeth have iron as a natural component that gives them a metallic kind of hardness and strength. Their teeth have the natural ability to self-sharpen and constantly grow, just like human nails.
A biologist from Sonoma State University also discovered that beavers contribute to the rapid growth of seagrass.
Beavers can survive and thrive on land, but they mostly prefer to live on the water in dams made of wood.
However, they face the struggle of having sea otters occupy their homes whenever they’re not around. It has always been interesting how the measurement of their dams are mostly accurate with a horizontal length of precisely 150 yards.
These animals are natural born engineers that do not allow even just a slight leak in their dam to go unnoticed. Beaver families are also very united and coordinated and can delegate tasks efficiently.
Is it safe to have beavers as pets?
Beavers are cute; with that, there is no doubt. However, their lifestyle has always been surviving in the wild. They are the kind of animals that do not need pampering and can thrive on their own.
They would not make great pets. There are people who have adopted kits and raised them, but eventually, when they have matured enough, they are sent back into their natural habitat and allowed to live as they usually do.
They cannot be trained, and they do not have that kind of connection with humans like dogs and cats have. Because of their natural affinity for wood, they would just most likely end up gnawing through all your wooden furniture.
Beavers are generally friendly creatures, but they are not accustomed to a household setting, especially in an urban environment. Their nature is to be in the wilderness, particularly in the water, where they are able to thrive on their own.
Even though they do not possess that predatory nature, it does not guarantee that you and everyone else in your household are safe.
Beavers still attack when they feel threatened or when they are provoked. There was one incident that happened back in 2013 when a fisherman was attacked and killed by a beaver because it was provoked when he came close to take a photo with it.
It does not happen often, but it is better to be safe. They may be small, but their two sharp teeth can still do fatal damage.
They are also very territorial, and any unwanted visitor who comes near their homes is already considered a threat. They do not stalk or attack immediately, but they will be on their guard and tend to get aggressive.
If you really want to keep one as a pet, you might have to go through some regulatory restrictions. Also, the potential risks and hazards of having such an animal in your home are worth considering, along with what you plan to feed them or where you will keep them.
Why you should not pet beavers
Wild animals should not be kept as pets. That includes beavers.
- Wild animals do not have that natural affinity and affection for people.
- They are generally dangerous, and they have difficulty thriving in an environment where their instincts are suppressed.
- Although beavers aren’t predatory species, their inherent lifestyle will make them difficult to handle in your home.
- Their diet is mostly comprised of wood, so they will most likely chew on any wood that they encounter in your house. Your furniture is the one most at risk.
- They move rather quickly, and it will be hard for you to get them to settle down unless you keep them caged.
- Aside from the possibility of them destroying your home, looking after their dirt is also a huge problem. It is near impossible to toilet-train a beaver. They will dump their waste anywhere they deem convenient.
- Since they are also quite aggressive, it will be difficult to bathe them regularly, and sometimes they are just downright uncontrollable. If you attempt to get them to settle down, they might see you as a threat and attack you.
- They do not typically recognize humans as owners or companions, so they will most likely not submit. If you want to keep them in your home, you will need to set a spot where there is water for them to play in, swim in, bathe in, and excrete their waste.
Keeping them inside your home will most likely end in disaster.
Do beavers get along well with cats, dogs, and other pets?
It might be a little difficult to put a beaver and a dog or cat in the same room without expecting a conflict to arise. Beavers are territorial creatures and do not like sharing their space with others.
They might see the dog or cat as a potential threat to their space which will force them to become cautious and aggressive. They might bare their teeth and claws as a defense mechanism.
Never leave your pets unattended. When taking them for a trip outside, keep them on a leash. Have them vaccinated against rabies. If they are ever bitten by a beaver, wash the bite wound with soap and water.
Consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible to take the necessary medical precautions.
Do beavers attack humans?
As long as they are not provoked or threatened, beavers can be friendly and pleasant to humans. They do not have the impulse or instinct to attack immediately. Just do not disrupt them while they are busy in their natural habitat.
Do not attempt to take their food or disturb them in their homes. Beaver attacks are uncommon, but they can still happen if these animals are somehow abused or harmed.
What do beavers usually eat?
Beavers like to eat leaves and the soft outer layer of the tree barks. They are natural herbivores, so they feed mainly on plants, more specifically aquatic plants.
They also eat vegetables and fruits in certain seasons. But their main staple during the cold season is the sticks and twigs that they have gathered.
Even though they are a part of the bear family, they do not hibernate during the winter and, therefore, will need food reserves to survive since they won’t have much access to land vegetation once their pond freezes.
Other things to know when petting beavers
In the wilderness, beavers use leaves, twigs, sticks, mugs, and other things found in nature to build their habitat. That is their instinct. Wherever you put them, they will make it a point to build a lodge out of whatever they can find.
They do not smell nice.
They are naturally inclined to find a mate and bear offspring, so it would not do them well to stay in captivity. They will do whatever it takes to break free.
No matter how cute they may be, beavers are not suited to become pets. It’s simply not in their nature to be a human’s companion. They are untrainable. Nature is their home, and they survive and thrive well in the wilderness rather than under human care.
They live both in water and on land, but their lodge, where they mostly reside, is built in the midst of a dam in the water. Wood and vegetables are the two main parts of their diet. They even eat their fecal waste.
In most places, there are laws that prohibit people from keeping wild animals as pets and keeping them inside cages as well. Animals that are naturally born to live in the wilderness will find it difficult to survive in an enclosed environment.
Even raising them from the minute they are born, you still cannot take away the fact that when they mature, they will always revert to their wild impulses and instincts, and no amount of training can change that.
It would be in your best interest to allow them to live and grow in their natural habitat together with their species.
How and where do beavers store their food?
Beavers gather tree bark, twigs, and sticks and take them to their dam. Within that dam, they dive into the deep parts and bury their wood supply in the mud.
That will serve as their food reservoir for the entire winter season since they cannot go to their ponds when they freeze over. It takes them most of the autumn season to stockpile their food.
Where can I get a beaver?
It’s against the law to raise a beaver in your home. They are not sold in pet stores.
If ever you come across a young kit, you are still not allowed to keep it as your own. You can coordinate with authorities to help locate the young beaver’s family and return it there.
What time of day are they most active?
As mentioned before, they are typically nocturnal animals that are most active during nighttime. Their days begin at dusk and end at dawn.
They spend their day gathering food, building their dam and their lodge, and doing other kinds of work. They are busiest during the fall in preparation for the winter season.
It usually takes them a couple of months to finish building their dam.
By the time winter begins, most bear species would be in hibernation. The same cannot be said for the beavers. They are still active during winter, albeit staying mostly indoors and swimming underwater to get to their food supply and bring it to their lodge.
The insulation they efficiently built into their lodge keeps them safe and warm even when the temperature outside is borderline freezing.
Where do you usually find active beavers?
Most of the time, beavers stay in their dams and lodges in the water rather than on land. They are great swimmers, so they thrive well on water.
As a matter of fact, their lodges are built safely for them. The entrance to their home can be found underwater so no one else can enter.
It is not easily accessed by land predators due to its strong engineering and location.
What sounds do beavers make?
Beavers do not have a distinct sound that they make. However, they do have body actions that they do that indicate when they feel threatened.
They slap their tail on the water or on a solid surface if they sense danger or if they are threatened. When this happens, they usually seek refuge back in their home and stay hidden until they deem it safe enough to go out again.
They make slight growling or hissing sounds when angered or provoked. They can also produce grunting or grumbling sounds.
Why do beavers build dams?
The dams that beavers build to serve as the spot where they put up their lodge. The dam protects its lodge from predators. Since they are mostly aquatic animals, they like to stay in or near bodies of water.
Beavers enter their lodge by diving underwater and going through the tunnel that they also built. The lodge is where they mate, give birth, and raise their young kits.
In a few years, the kits mature and go off to build their own dams and lodges and mate and bear their offspring.
Beaver dams can withstand extreme weather conditions with engineering made of wood, stones, and wet soil. The location where they build their dam contributes to their safety.
All beavers possess this unique engineering skill. For example, the beavers of Wyoming.
The importance of beavers in the wilderness
Beavers are significant contributors to the balance of the ecosystem. Their homes help maintain the regulation of the current in small bodies of water. Aside from that, it also helps to filter the debris that is carried by the stream.
It can also be a home for other animals that they get along with, and it also gathers the nutrients and essential minerals of the soil. The ponds that they build help in the remaking of the land and water formations in that area which can bring about numerous benefits to the development of vegetation.
We only know of two species of beavers so far – the Eurasian and the American beaver. They are the crossbreeds of bears and rodents that are quite large in size, and their two sharp front teeth constantly grow throughout their lifetime.
It is their main tool for eating and gnawing through the wood. They are natural engineers and plumbers. They have skills in building dams while also making sure that their walls are free from leaks.
There used to be millions of beavers in the United States and Canada way back in the early times. Rivers and streams in America would be filled with millions of beaver dams and lodges.
Picture seeing 5 to 30 beavers in every kilometer in areas near rivers and streams and other small bodies of water.
But when hunting began, the beaver population drastically decreased in numbers. Beavers started being hunted for their fur, which was used to make coats. Their secretion, called castoreum was also used in the manufacture of perfumes.
Ruthless and merciless hunters would not stop for as long as there were still beavers left to hunt.
The condition of the ecosystem without the contributions made by the beavers went low. There were fewer and fewer dams being built on rivers. Other animals who took refuge in beaver homes were left homeless.
The good thing, though, is that people took action, and the hunting was illegalized.
Today, the beaver population is still quite low but is slowly rising. And the ecosystem is restored to its natural balance.
More aquatic animals are making homes out of beaver dams as well. They are more protected and thrive well in their natural habitat.
To conclude, beavers have a more positive impact in the wilderness than they would have in your home. So it is best not to keep them as pets and let them roam free in the wilderness where they truly belong.