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I watched a video the other day with an orphaned beaver living in someone’s home as a pet. This reminded me of someone I used to go to school with who had a pet beaver. I phoned him recently to get information about whether beavers made good pets.

There have been numerous occasions where young and orphaned beavers have been kept as pets. However, adult beavers don’t make good pets.

Beavers are adorable, and it was refreshing to see in my research that people have looked after orphaned beavers at home. Please read on if you want to look after a beaver and know more, including what they eat, where they sleep, and much more. 

Beavers as pets infographic

What Do Beavers Eat?

To keep a beaver as a pet, you must know what they eat—their diet 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. 

They often store food underwater in the winter to access the food if the water freezes. During spring and fall, a beaver’s diet consists 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. They will chew and gnaw and eat the wood.  Beavers also eat the foliage and twigs of red maples, willows, and aspens.

In the summertime, only 10% of the Beavers’ diet consists of trees and woody plants, with grasses, shrubs, and aquatic plants making up the rest of the 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 proper diet for a pet beaver would be a tough job for anyone not living in the right environment.

With beavers spending a lot of time in the water, you could be forgiven for thinking they would eat fish, but this is not the case. Eating aquatic plants 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.

Beaver on a dam

Do Beavers Get Along With Cats, Dogs, and Other Pets?

If you have other pets, such as dogs and cats, it would be challenging for them to live alongside a beaver. Beavers are extremely territorial animals known to bite and claw dogs encroaching onto their territory. Beavers can cause fatal wounds to other animals with their long front teeth and sharp claws. 

Are Beavers Aggressive Toward Humans?

Although people have had orphaned beavers as pets from a young age, they are wild animals and can be very aggressive in their habitat. When looked after from an early age, beavers can be trained to be relatively tame, following you around the house like a dog or cat and hopping onto your lap for a stroke. 

A man in Belarus is the only known fatality. 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, similar to the North American Beaver, although they don’t normally attack humans. This has been attributed partly to the spring season bringing a more aggressive nature from the young beavers trying to stake their territory in the world. 

Beavers can also become confused and disoriented during the daytime and attack out of fear, as they are generally nocturnal.

Do you know why beavers are good for the environment? Find out here.

How Much Do Beavers Sleep?

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

During the day, beavers spend the day resting and sleeping, waiting for dusk to start their work. If you consider keeping one as a pet, bear this in mind. If you still believe they are 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.

Is The Beaver Going To Chew All The Wood In My House?

Beavers love to chew wood and, in the wild, build dams and lodges out of wood. They will chew parts of your furniture, skirting boards, door frames, and any other wood they can get hold of. 

One way to combat this is to ensure 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. If you have an outdoor garage, this can be converted into an excellent space for them, especially if this also leads to a garden. 

When you bring them indoors, please do not leave them unattended, as they will chew through every last bit of wood they can find. A beaver can get through a wooden door in less than an hour if they want to.

American Beaver: Master Builders of the Waterways


How Long Do Beavers Live?

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

Do you know how big beavers grow? Find out here.

Is It Illegal To Keep A Beaver?

Keeping a beaver as a pet is illegal in most states in North America and can result in heavy fines or imprisonment, depending on the state. Beavers are wild animals, are hard to domesticate, and require special care that most people cannot provide. In addition, the animal’s needs for space, nutrition, and companionship are difficult to meet in a home setting.

Furthermore, beavers can carry diseases that can spread to other animals and humans. Even if you get your hands on a beaver pup that is still young enough to be tamed, it may become aggressive as an adult since it can become territorial. If you’re looking for an interesting pet with unique behaviors and habits, it’s best to leave the beavers alone and let them remain in their natural habitats, even if it is legal.

  • Arkansas – If you can prove that you obtained the beaver legally, you may be able to get a permit.
  • Florida – You would need a Class III permit to keep wild beavers.
  • Indiana – Class II wild animal possession permit.
  • Kentucky – May need a permit.
  • Michigan – If the animal is raised in captivity, and a permit is sought.
  • Missouri – Wildlife Hobby Permit is required.
  • Nebraska – Requires a Captive Wildlife Permit/
  • North Dakota – Import permit and license required.

Would A Beaver Be Able To Swim In A Bath Tub?

Beavers are a wetland species that love water and need plenty of daily time in it. A bath makes a good swimming pool, but a pool would be much better.

While starting the beaver in the bath, it is good practice to start with just a tiny amount of water in the bottom so they can feel the bottom. Next time you put the beaver in there, you can fill it halfway, and then after that, if they are 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 keep an eye on them when in the bath. Beavers do poop while in the water, so if you are using your bath, ensure 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.

What Else Do I Need To Know About 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.

They also smell, and not in a pleasant way, but more like fish and wet fur. They will also defecate wherever they can, so it is hard to keep a house clean.

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


Beavers can be bought up from orphans as pets, but it is challenging work. The constant bathing, the cutting of twigs, and the damage to any wooden items, such as furniture or in the house, is a continuous battle. 

Leaving an animal in a cage is not the best way to look after any pet. They 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.

Mountain Beaver: Ecological Engineer

References and Further Reading

“Beaver: Wetlands and Wildlife” by Michael Furtman

“Beavers: Boreal Ecosystem Engineers” by Chris Maser and James R. Sedell

“Beavers: My Family and Me” by Tony Angell

“The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir” by Bill Bryson

“The Beaver: Its Life and Impact” by Dietland Muller-Schwarze