There are three furry newborns at the Jackson Zoo. Stump, a North American Beaver mother, gave birth to this litter of three kits last week -- on March 27. All are resting comfortably in their lodge together. The babies are very healthy and still nursing. Mom is allowing them to testing out the water in which they will become quite agile as they grow. You can watch the Zoo's Facebook page for imminent news of a naming contest HERE.
Beavers have webbed feet which they use like fins when swimming and can move at speeds up to five miles (eight km) an hour, using their flat round tails like rudders. While underwater, they see through a set of transparent eyelids that function much like goggles. They can stay under for up to 15 minutes. Their fur is waterproof. Beavers find aquatic plants on which to dine, supplementing their diet, as herbivores, of bark and leaves, twigs, and roots.
Beavers are the second-largest rodent in the world, the Caypbara being the largest. They are incredibly industrious, breaking down small trees and branches with their strong jaws to build nests and dams on the sides of waterways The North American Beaver population was once more than 60 million, but as of 1988 was 6–12 million. This decline is a result of extensive hunting for fur, for glands used as medicine and perfume, and because their harvesting of trees and flooding of waterways may interfere with other land uses.
Photo Credit: Jackson Zoo