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Definition of BEAVER
a: either of two large semiaquatic herbivorous rodents comprising a family (Castoridae including Castor canadensis of North America and C. fiber of Eurasia), having webbed hind feet and a broad flat scaly tail, and constructing dams and partially submerged lodges
river 280 miles (451 kilometers) NW Oklahoma forming upper course of the North Canadian
river 305 miles (491 kilometers) Canada in Alberta & Saskatchewan flowing E into the Churchill
Beaver (Castor canadensis).—Karl Maslowski
Either species of the aquatic rodent family Castoridae (genus Castor), both of which are well known for building dams. Beavers are heavyset and have short legs and large, webbed hind feet. They grow as large as 4 ft (1.3 m) long, including the 1-ft (30-cm) tail, and as heavy as 66 lb (30 kg). Beavers build their dams of sticks, stones, and mud in small rivers, streams, and lakes, often producing sizable ponds. With their powerful jaws and large teeth, they can fell medium-size trees, whose branches they use in their dams and whose tender bark and buds they eat. One or more family groups share a dome-shaped stick-and-mud lodge built in the water, with tunnel entrances below water level. American beavers (C. canadensis) range from northern Mexico to the Arctic. Their prized pelts stimulated the exploration of western North America, and by 1900 beavers were trapped to near extinction. Eurasian beavers (C. fiber) are now found in only a few locations, including the Elbe and Rhône drainages of Europe. The mountain beaver of the Pacific Northwest is unrelated.