Beavers have always been the heroes of wooden architecture. From their unique flat tails to their massive construction work, they are some of the most incredible engineers in nature.
Their teeth are just as remarkable. Beavers' chisel-like chompers help them create intricate dams and lodges that protect against flooding and predators.
Keep reading to discover more beaver teeth facts that will make you appreciate them even more.
6 Interesting Facts about Beaver Teeth
- Their teeth never stop growing, but their relentless gnawing routine helps keep their chompers trimmed.1
- Beavers' long incisors have an orange hue — thanks to a special enamel coating rich in iron.1
- Their softer bony teeth tissue wears away quickly, which gives their incisors a chiseled shape that can easily slice through tough materials like wood.1
- Behind the beaver's four front teeth are a second set of lips. These act as shields, allowing the beaver to gnaw wood underwater without fearing swallowing unwanted debris.2
- The iron in their teeth makes them incredibly tough and resilient to acid.3
- Beavers' razor-sharp incisors can gnaw through trees standing 10+ feet tall.4
Beaver Teeth vs. Human Teeth
There are some clear distinctions when comparing beavers' chompers to human's pearly whites. For one, beavers have far fewer teeth than humans. They have 20, while the average human has 32. But these furry rodents make up for it with their strong enamels.
They have twice as thick (iron-rich) enamel as humans (calcium-rich), which hardens the beaver's teeth against all sorts of acids and other destructive elements in their environment. They can also withstand a force of up to 150 pounds per square inch (PSI).4
But that's not to say human teeth are weak. Our pearly whites may be softer than beavers', but they still withstand an average of 162 PSI of force. Unfortunately, our teeth are not resilient to acid like them.
Beavers' upper central incisors (two front teeth) can also expand to 2.5 inches (6 cm).4 In contrast, a human's average upper incisor width is 8.74 mm (men = 8.89 mm, women = 8.60 mm).5
10 Other Interesting Facts about Beavers
There’s much more to the beaver world than just those bright, orange chompers. Get to know them better with these amusing details about their lives:
- They can construct dams that successfully hold back water with branches, reeds, saplings, and sticks, all strategically sealed together with rocks and mud.1
- Beavers build dome-like lodges in the water. These structures provide a cozy living space above the water line, accessible only through underwater entrances. Insulated walls and a small air hole in the roof keep the lodge cozy, while wood shavings on the floors create a welcoming bedroom for the beavers.1
- These herbivores stash fresh branches under their lodges during winter. The cold creates a natural fridge underneath that keeps the stems crisp and full of nutrients.1
- Beavers convey their intentions and feelings through body language, vocalizations, and scents.1
- They love snacking on leaves, aquatic plants, tree bark, and soft layers of wood. Their favorite foods (maple, poplar, birch, aspen, and willow) are also the materials they use to construct structures.1
- Beavers reign supreme at the top of North America's rodent food chain.1
- Since their lodges underwater don't see the sun, these aquatic engineers' days are 26 to 29 hours long. This entails they're the busiest at night.1
- Thanks to their impressive lung capacity, beavers can hold their breath for up to 8 minutes and swim at a speedy 6 miles per hour.1
- From a slim 35 (16 kg) pounds to a whopping 110 pounds (30 kg), these animals come in all sizes. The biggest one on record weighed a whopping 110 pounds (50 kg).7
Beavers store tons of fat in their tails to keep them alive during winter. Their tails also help them easily navigate the water and stand on their hind legs.7