Photo by Bob Gress
Total Length: 38 - 49 inches
Tail Length: 12 - 16 inches
Weight: 30 - 60 pounds
American beavers are the largest rodents in Kansas. They use trees,
other vegetation and mud to build dams and sometimes their dome-shaped lodges. Most Kansas
beavers live in bank burrows along streams and rivers. Beavers have large, orange incisor
teeth and strong jaws. They have large, webbed hind feet, a horizontally flattened, scaly
tail and coarse brown fur covering gray silky under-fur. Beavers are active throughout the
year from dusk to dawn. In the twilight hours they may be observed swimming, their head
causing a triangle-shaped wake on the surface of the water. Females bear a litter of 3-4
kits in May or June. They may live up to 15 years in the wild.
American beavers are found in aquatic habitats from northern Mexico to Alaska. They
are found in Kansas wherever there is water and a source of edible trees.
Beavers feed on rhizomes, roots and shoots of aquatic plants and leaves and twigs
of trees in warm months. They cache tree branches underwater next to their den site in
winter allowing them to access their food even during ice cover.
For more information, see the GPNC portrait page for Beavers.
Other Kansas Rodents
Return to the Mammal's Den!
Text: George Potts and Bob Gress
Design: Jim Mason