By Julia Magsombol 

Local Journalism Initiative 

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With the adorable look of a beaver, who would’ve thought they are also intelligent? 

They are one of the few animals that build their own homes. They can be spotted in the lakes and rivers of British Columbia. And for Indigenous Peoples, they symbolize something good. 

Appearance, shelter, and diet

One of the unique characteristics that beavers have is their orange teeth and their large flat tail that serves as their fat storage in winter. Their tails also help them swim faster and make a loud alarm call when they slap the water. In addition, their unique tale helps them to balance their moves whenever they carry heavy things. 

North American beavers have a thick, reddish brown to black colour fur. They have small eyes and tiny, round ears, which makes them look adorable and friendly. 

Beavers have a sturdily built body. A typical beaver weighs 30-60 pounds (13 to 27 kilograms) and stands one to 1.5 feet tall. They also measure three to four feet in length. 

They are usually spotted in streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, swamps, and wetlands. 

Beavers begin constructing their homes by piling all the logs, sticks, and shrubs around the doors. This gives them access to rivers or ponds. They build walls and use mud as insulation. They then add more sticks or mud to their home each year, creating a stronger home. These finished homes are called lodges. Beavers know where to build their home by the sound of the running water. They construct their homes above the water and near their food source as well. 

Beavers usually eat what they use to build their homes. Some examples include the wood like aspen, willow, birch, and maple. They store branches on the muddy floor beneath their lodges and they eat this gathered food during winter. 

In winter 

What’s also unique about beavers is they don’t hibernate during the winter like other animals. The lodges they build are their homes during the cold season. Like humans’ homes during the winter, their homes have a heater, which keeps them warm. 

These lodges have a large dry room, which is insulated with sticks and mud. This helps them to survive winter. 

Beavers in British Columbia 

British Columbia has many slow-moving streams, which beavers like to occupy and build their homes. Their population ranges between 400,000 to 600,000. 

Beavers in Indigenous communities 

For the Ojibwe people, beavers represent wisdom. As they build their homes, they use their gifts wisely for survival. Beavers are also family-oriented animals, and they form strong bonds, just like many Indigenous Peoples. 

In some Indigenous communities, they symbolize prosperity and abundance. They also represent productiveness as they can accomplish their goals quickly, alongside their strong will.