Detroit Zoo Giraffe Page

American Beaver

At the Detroit Zoo
Male Ward and female Eve were born in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Their arrival in 2013 marked the first time the Zoo has had American beavers since 1969. Visitors can get an up-close, underwater view of the pair at the Jane and Frank Warchol Beaver Habitat on the northern edge of the Cotton Family Wetlands.  


The largest rodent in North America has a lustrous reddish- or blackish-brown, waterproof fur coat, webbed hind feet and a broad, flat, scaly tail that is roughly 10 inches long. The beaver has a disproportionately large skull and four powerful, orange-colored teeth – two upper and two lower incisors – that are used to gnaw on tree bark.  Its small, round ears can close to keep water out.


Scientific nameCastor canadensis
Continent: North America
Habitat: Streams, ponds and lakes
Size: 33-46 inches
Weight: 28-70 pounds
Diet: Bark and cambium (softer growing tissue under the bark of trees), water vegetation, buds and roots
Reproduction: Gestation of 107 days; one to four kits
Lifespan: 10-20 years
Conservation Status: Least Concern



Beavers are one of only three “keystone” species – along with elephants and humans – that have the ability to change the earth’s landscape.  


Beavers slap their tails against the water to warn of danger.


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·         A giraffe eats 16 to 20 hours a day, consuming up to 75 pounds of fresh browse. 


·         Giraffes get to spend more quality time together than most mammals, considering they rarely sleep more than 20 minutes each day.


·         A giraffe’s heart can weigh up to 25 pounds (an adult human heart weighs about 10 ounces).