Beaver (Castor canadensis)

***** Location: Canada, North America
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Animal


Beaver, the national emblem of Canada

young beavers
kigo for spring
Young beavers leave the nest in spring when they are two-years-old, to make room for the next litter, and go off to build lodges and dams in new territory.

preparing lodges, building dams
kigo for autumn

"Full Beaver Moon" .. November
setting beaver traps

kigo for early winter

Native American Indians:
"This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon."

hibernating, hole-up
kigo for winter

In winter, they mostly hole-up in their lodges with a winter-long store of food while the pond they have created with their dam may be mostly frozen over.

Larry Bole



Where the beaver lives
The beaver lives near wooded streams. Beavers are found in most parts of Canada ( the north, the west and on the prairies). In the rest of North America the beaver's range extends from Alaska to the southern United States.

The beaver's home
The beaver builds a home (lodge) made of mud and branches. The inside of the beaver's home consists of one or more underwater passages, a feeding area and a dry area for the nest. Most lodges are about 5 metres wide and 2 metres high. There is a fresh air hole at the top (roof) of the lodge.

The beaver is the largest rodent in North America. A full grown beaver can weigh from 16 to 32 kg. It can be from 60 to 80 cm. in length. Beavers has long sharp front teeth.

A beaver's tail is flat (about 30 cm. long) and covered with scales . The beaver uses the tail to steer when swimming or for balance when sitting on land . If an enemy is near, the beaver slaps its tail on the water to warn other beavers. The tail is not used to plaster mud on dams or lodges.

Beavers eat the bark and leaves of trees. Their favorite tree is the aspen. Beavers also eat grasses, berries and waterplants.
In the winter the beaver family stays inside a lodge. There can be six or more in the lodge including parents, yearlings and kits. They do not hibernate. Enough food must be stored to last all winter. The beaver's food pile of twigs and branches is at the bottom of the pond close to the entrance to the lodge. During the winter the beaver dives down to get some food.

The young
Beavers mate for life. Early in the summer ( May or June ) the female has a litter of three or four kits. The newborn have fur, teeth and can see and walk. The babies remain inside for about a month. The yearlings act as babysitters for the new litter. During their second year, young beavers help their parents repair the dam and lodge and gather food for winter. Young beavers stay with their parents until they are two years old.

© J.Giannetta

More Beaver Information and LINKS
University of Michigan


Just recently, a beaver was sighted swimming in the Bronx River within the city limits of New York City. It has built a beaver lodge on the bank of the river.

This is the first time a beaver in the wild has been seen in New York City in 200 years!
It has been named Jose, after U.S. Representative Jose Serrano, who over the last five years has secured US$14.6 million in federal funding to clean up the river and its environment. The Bronx River flows south into the Bronx from Westchester County to the north, and empties into the East River.

Starting in the nineteenth century, the Bronx River has been extremely polluted with industrial waste. The beaver is a positive sign of the river becoming clean again.

The official seal of the City of New York has, among other things, two beavers on it.

And here is a picture of a beaver depicted on a decorative tile on the wall of the subway station at Astor Place, which is on the western edge of the East Village area of Manhattan. Astor Place is named after John Jacob Astor, who made a fortune in the beaver fur trade, and was the first millionaire in the United States.

© http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Astor_Pl_station_2.jpg

"If I can make it there,
I'm gonna make it anywhere,
It's up to you,

New York, New York."

--from "New York, New York," popularized by Frank Sinatra

a beaver too
can make it here--
new york, new york

Larry Bole

Worldwide use

North America

The state of Oregon has the nickname "The Beaver State," and the American beaver is the state animal.

The beaver is also the state animal of the state of New York.

Things found on the way


Freezing day...
above the beaver house
a puff of steam.

It is a very cold, calm day and it is something like -25C. We are walking out in the bush and come upon a frozen pond. At one end is a beaver dam and at the other end is a beaver house. There are beaver inside as we can see the steam from their breaths rise from a vent hole in their house. We assume it is warm and cozy inside.


Trickling dam...
a full pond yet beavers
remain unseen.

On a trip to Coyote Lake we saw beaver dams with their ponds full of water. However, we did not see any actual beavers around... maybe they were having an afternoon snooze in their beaver house.

© 2 Haiku by Vaughn Seward (aka "Masago")

© PHOTO http://www.woodlandheights.ca/nature_sanctuary/


even the little beaver
says shit on work
this spring day

Cor van den Heuvel, Simply Haiku 2005


the slap of a beaver tail
at twilight

--Alice Frampton
("The Heron's Nest," Vol. VII, No. 3: September, 2005)

snowmelt -
beaver dam swept
to the river's edge

--William Scott Galasso
("The Heron's Nest," Vol. IV, No. 8: August, 2002)

Winter moon;
a beaver lodge in the marsh,
mounded with snow

--Robert Spiess
["Haiku West," 6:1 (1972); "The Haiku Anthology,"
edited by Cor van den Heuvel (Norton, 1999)]

Quiet strokes
of night swimmer: the slap
of beaver tails . . .

--Virginia Brady Young
(Honorable Mention, 1979 Harold G. Henderson Memorial Award,
The Haiku Society of America)

rainstorm on the pond;
beaver pushing a poplar limb
to plug the dam

--Charles Dickson
(publication information unknown)

On my fishing log
A beaver's wet belly has
Left a brush stroke there

--Brian Kokensparger
("Dogwood Blossoms," Vol. 1, Issue 8, June, 1994)

Compiled by Larry Bole


low water
marsh mud smell mingles
with wood smoke

bob / Hapy Haiku 2010

Related words

***** BACK TO
Canada Saijiki



Gabi Greve said...

 More BEAVER haiku !


Gabi Greve, Joys of Japan - Poetry said...

full beaver moon –
the passing clouds dress
and undress the fur

Tomislav Maretic