Humans are the only species that can change the landscape more than the beaver. With four one-inch long incisors and a paddle-like tail, the beaver is able to fell trees and create dams that act as a natural system for cleansing water of pollutants and toxins.
The beaver can be found in streams, rivers, marshes and wetlands across much of North America. It is the continent’s most common rodent, typically weighing 60-70 pounds and reaching up to 4 feet in length. The beaver has transparent eyelids and valves on its ears and nose that close automatically when it submerges in water. These unique features allow the beaver to remain underwater for up to four minutes at a time, where, with the help of its tail and webbed feet, it can swim one and a half miles.
The beaver has developed a bad reputation among some, because they can cause roads to flood with their damming capabilities and are known to have a taste for farmers’ crops. But as wetlands continue to decline worldwide, the beaver’s ability to maintain the health of these unique ecosystems cannot be understated.May 07, 2012