Beavers - Wildlife


Beavers (Castor canadensis) are 3 to 4 feet long (nose to tail), tail is 10 inches, and weigh 35 to 70 lbs. Body color is dark brown with a large, flat paddle-shaped tail.


Beavers pose little threat to humans, their property or pets. Beavers are naturally shy animals. Beavers are fundamental to the creation, maintenance and support of fragile wetland ecosystems. Wetland ecosystems provide habitat to a diverse range of fish, birds, and mammals.

Beavers are primarily active at night and dusk. Beavers live in lodges near water embankments. They construct lodges using branches, mud and aquatic debris.

Beavers are social animals and live in complex family groups (colonies). Beavers breed in winter and raise their young together. Gestation is 12 to 15 weeks. Young are born in May and June and weaned in 6 weeks. Young beavers live with their family in lodge for two years before leaving to establish their own family and lodge.


Beavers are herbivores. A natural diet primarily consists of woody plants and aquatic plants. A modified diet can include farm crops such as corn or soybeans.


Beavers inhabit wetland and riparian areas, including rivers, streams, marshes, lakes and ponds in Fairfax County.


For information on managing wildlife interactions and resolving human-wildlife conflicts, the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline is available toll-free at (855) 571-9003, 8:00AM-4:30PM, Monday through Friday.This helpline is a collaborative effort between the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Wildlife Services.


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