A beaver surrounded by wood chips, chewing on a tree

NPS Photo/Claire Abendroth

Iñupiaq Name: Aku
Scientific Name: Caster canadensis

The beaver is North America's largest rodent and can be found throughout the park where trees are found. They can live between 10 and 12 years and weigh 40 to 80 pounds, but beavers that are long-lived can weigh up to 100 pounds. Beavers are known for two main features- their teeth and their tails. Like all rodents, their teeth never stop growing and are filled down when they gnaw on wood. Their tails are used to help steer in the water, but also to slap the water surface in warning to other beavers nearby.

Beavers are widespread through out the state of Alaska and the rest of North America where trees are found.

Beavers like to live in places with slow moving water. This means they typically are found in ponds and lakes, and slow moving rivers and streams. They will also damn up areas to create slower moving water.

Life History:
Beavers first starting breeding at about 2 years of age and will generally mate for life. They breeding season is January through February. A litter will be born in anytime in late April through June, with an average of 2-6 offspring. Young beavers will leave their family as early as a year after birth, but it can be up to two years. Adults can weigh 40-70 pounds and reach up to 3 feet in length. They typically live 10-12 years in the wild, but longer in captivity.

Beavers will eat bark, various aquatic plants, roots, grasses. leaves, twigs, and buds. They will collect food for winter all fall and anchor the food into the substrate so it will be accessible when water freezes over

The main predators for beaver with the park include wolves, lynx, bear, and humans.

Iñupiaq Cultural Use:
Beaver are mainly used for their fur to make parkas, mittens and hats. They are also used as a food source, including their tails.

Last updated: September 19, 2023

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