Common Mammal Species of Northwestern Ontario





Castor canadensis


Distinguishing Features - Overall colouration, glossy brown to yellowish brown fur, chestnut to brownish-orange underneath. Tail, black, paddle-like. Large inscisor teeth for cutting branches and tree trunks.


Size -
1 - 1.1 m (3.25 - 3.66 ft)


Widespread throughout Northwestern Ontario, in ponds, lakes and slow-moving rivers and creeks beside forested areas.


Herbivor; the beaver will eat nonwoody vegetation in the summer (leaves, buds, water vegetation and underwater roots); in winter, it will eat woody vegetation (mainly bark of trees and shrubs) it has stored in an underwater cache near its lodge.


Once extensively trapped for their fur, the beaver has managed to survive in large numbers. They breed once a year and produce a litter of 1 to 9 (usually 2 to 4) offspring.

The beaver is an active animal and appears to be constantly busy, whether building a dam or a lodge, or gathering a food cache to feed it through the winter. Few animals are capable of altering a landscape as much as the beaver. In its quest to create and maintain a suitable habitat, the beaver creates wetlands which become breeding and feeding habitats of waterfowl, fish and other water-dependent mammals. Sometimes it will come into conflict with man by cutting valuable trees and creating floodlands by plugging culverts.

In the water, the beaver is usually safe from predators, However, on land it is awkward and often falls prey to wolves, coyotes, red fox, black bears, lynx, bobcats, fishers and even domestic dogs.

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