Do Beavers Make Good Pets?


I watched a video the other day with an orphaned beaver living in someone’s home as a pet. This made me wonder whether beavers do make good pets?

There have been numerous occasions where young and orphaned beavers have been kept as pets.  Adult beavers are wild animals and are not suitable to be kept as pets.

Beavers are undeniably one of North America’s cutest mammals, and it was refreshing to see in my research that people have looked after orphaned Beavers at home.  If you want to look after a beaver and want to know more, including what they eat, where they sleep, and much more, please read on.

What do Beavers eat?

If you want to keep a Beaver as a pet, you need to know what they eat.  The diet of beaver changes as the seasons of the year change.  Beavers are herbivores and will eat what is in season around them.  The inner bark of trees is their favorite, especially during the colder winter months. 

Beavers will often store food underwater in the winter to access the food if the water freezes.  During Spring and Fall, the Beavers diet consists of a mixture of grasses and wood such as beech, maple, birch, alder, black cherry, and aspen trees.   

Beavers enjoy the bark of the trees and the smooth and soft layer just below the bark, the Cambium.  Beavers also eat the foliage and twigs of red maples, willows, and aspens.

In the summertime, only 10 percent of the Beavers diet consists of trees and woody plants, with grasses, shrubs, and aquatic plants making up the rest of the Beavers diet.  Cattails, bulrush, pondweeds, water lilies, rhizomes, and other aquatic plants make up the rest of the Beaver’s summer diet, along with ferns and leaves.

Getting the right diet for a beaver being kept at home would be a tough job to do for anyone not living in the right environment.

With Beavers spending a lot of time in the water, you could be forgiven for thinking that they would eat fish, but this is not the case.  By eating aquatic plants, this gives a clean environment, allowing the fish and the beaver to live together peacefully.

A lot of time every day would be spent cutting twigs and sticks for your pet beaver.

Did you know that beavers are good for the environment? Find out more here.

Do Beavers get along well with cats, dogs and other pets?

If you have any other pets, such as a dog or cat, it would be challenging for them to live alongside a beaver.  Beavers are incredibly territorial and have been known to bite and claw dogs that have encroached onto their territory.  Beavers can cause deep wounds to other animals and even other beavers with their long front teeth and sharp claws. 

Are Beavers aggressive towards humans?

Although people have had orphaned beavers as pets from a young age, Beavers are a wild animal and, as such, can be very aggressive in their habitat.  When looked after from an early age, Beavers can be trained to be quite tame, following you around the house in much the same way a dog or cat would do and hopping up onto your lap for a stroke. 

A man in Belarus is the only known fatality of a beaver.  While driving home, he saw a beaver on the side of the road and stopped his vehicle.  The man tried to pick the animal up to have his picture taken, but the beaver bit him several times.  One of the bites went through a major artery in his leg, causing severe blood loss. 

There have been several attacks by the Eurasian Beaver, which is very similar to the North American Beaver, and this has been attributed partly to the Spring season bringing a more aggressive nature from the young beavers who are trying to stake their territory in the world. 

Beavers can also become confused and disoriented during the daytime and attack out of fear as the beaver is generally nocturnal.

If you would like to know if a beaver can see in the dark, I have written an article here.

How much do Beavers sleep?

Beavers sleep approximately 11 hours per day and are nocturnal animals but can also be active diurnally.  This mostly happens in areas that are disturbed very little by humans.  Beavers work at night to forage and can create a large lodge on several nights.

During the day, beavers spend the day resting and sleeping, waiting for dusk to start their hard work.  If you are thinking of keeping one as a pet, then this is something you should bear in mind.  If you still think that a beaver is a pet for you, then you will be happy to know that the beaver does not hibernate in the winter, giving you time all year to bond.

Want to know why beavers are classed as mammals? Find out here

Is the Beaver going to chew all the wood in my house?

Beavers love to chew wood.  It is what they are known for and for a good reason.  They will chew parts of your furniture, your skirting boards, door frames, and any other wood they can get hold of. 

One way to combat this is to make sure they have enough other wood to collect and chew in the house, but no matter how much you give them, they will always try to get more.  Some people will get a large cage for the beaver outdoors and put lots of wood in this to get bored.  If you have an outdoor garage, this can be converted into a fantastic space for a beaver, especially if this also leads to a garden. 

When you bring the beaver indoors, do not leave him unattended as if you do, then do not be surprised when he has chewed every last bit of wood he can find.  A beaver can get through a wooden door in less than an hour if they want to, then they will find a way.

How long do Beavers live?

Beavers generally have a lifespan of 7-8 years, although, in captivity, this has been know to increase to 25 years, so you need to ensure that you have this time to care for your animal.

Would a Beaver be able to swim in a normal sized bath?

Beavers love the water and need plenty of time every day in the water. A bath makes a good swimming pool for a small beaver, but a pool would be much better.

While starting the beaver in the bath, it is good practice to start with just a small amount of water in the bottom so that the beaver can feel the bottom of the bath.  Next time you put the beaver in there, you can fill it halfway, and then after that, if the beaver is doing well, you can fill it higher. 

Beavers close their nostrils when swimming underwater, but some disabilities such as Ataxia can make this difficult, so make sure to keep an eye on your loved one when in the bath.  It is true that Beavers poop while in the water, so if you are using your bath, make sure that it is disinfected before you use it. 

‘Beaver fever’ or Giardiasis is a common cause of waterborne disease in humans and can be caused by the beaver’s feces.

Do you know how big beavers grow? Do their teeth ever stop growing? Find out here

What else do I need to know before I get a beaver as a pet?

A beaver in the home will use whatever it can to build a dam in the house.  Nothing will be safe, including doormats, slippers, clothes, and stuffed animals.

Beavers smell, and not in a nice way, more like fish and wet fur.

Beavers will try and leave the property to find their mate.  They have been known to get out of locked cages by thrashing around, possibly injuring themselves in the process.

Conclusion

Beavers can be bought up from orphans as pets, but they are tough work. The constant bathing, the cutting of twigs, and the damage to any wood item, such as furniture or in the house, is a constant battle. 

Leaving a beaver in a cage is not the best way to look after any pet. Beavers are not for everyone and probably not for 99% of people who want a pet, but if you still think they are for you, I hope this information helps.

If you or someone you know loves beavers then check out my favorite gifts on Amazon.

Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Nature.

Recent Posts