The Minnesota Zoo is excited to announce the birth of six North American beaver kits. The kits were born on June 9. The kits and their parents, named Randy and Gina, are all doing well. We expect the kits to emerge from their beaver den sometime next month.
First there was Walnut, a male Beaver living at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Then came Nutmeg, a female who arrived from Northwest Trek Wildlife Park as a companion for Walnut…and now baby makes three!
Born April 29, the new kit is thriving and growing daily. Fuzzy brown, around 13 inches long and weighing just under 24 ounces, the baby Beaver is a nursing champion, taking every chance it can get to nestle up to mom. He or she also eagerly explores the habitat behind-the-scenes at the zoo’s Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater. The kit is not yet viewable by the public.
Staff aren’t yet sure about the sex of the kit. Beavers’ genitalia are hidden inside, making it impossible to determine their sex just by looking. In a few weeks, the veterinary team will send a blood sample for genetic testing, which will reveal the sex. At that point, the Wild Wonders staff will choose a name.
Beavers are born precocial, meaning they are a miniature version of adults, seeing well and moving independently.
The new baby spends most of each day snuggled up with mom and dad in their maternity suite at the zoo, where Nutmeg and Walnut have been crowd favorites in the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater live animal show. They’re also popular during Close Encounters, where guests can get up-close views of various animals.
Meanwhile, the zoo’s veterinary team is visiting daily, weighing the Beaver kit to track growth and check on its health.
“It’s doing very well,” said Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Head Veterinarian, Karen Wolf. “Since birth, this kit has been an ‘eager beaver’ – if you’ll excuse the pun! – stomping around and looking for a nipple to nurse.”
Two North American Beaver kits were born at the United Kingdom’sDrusillas Park Zoo.
The babies, both males, are healthy and growing fast! The zoo invites fans to suggest names for the kits on its Facebook page.
Beavers are found near rivers and lakes throughout much of North America. They are the world’s second-largest rodent species, after the Capybara. Beavers use sticks to build dams on waterways, with a goal of providing a buffer zone of deep, quiet water as a defense against potential predators. A lodge made of sticks, with an underwater entrance, is constructed in the middle of the deep water. Pairs usually mate for life, and kits remain in the lodge for the first month of life.
Once hunted extensively for their fur, Beaver populations have fallen dramatically in the last century. Today, however, efforts at restoring Beaver populations have been successful in some urban areas. Though they can be destructive, Beaver dams help to establish wetlands that remove sediments and pollutants from the water.
There's a beaver pup behind the scenes at Zoo Budapest—but this little girl wasn't actually born at the zoo. She was rescued from the Rába River on June 8 during a huge flood of the Danube River system. Although she was old enough to be able to swim, she was too small to survive the strong current of the flooded river. She is in excellent condition after her rescue, and once she is a bit older, stronger, and more self-sufficient, she will be released back at the Rába River, her original environment. For now, she is well cared for by the zoo's dedicated rescue staff and by her foster mom, a snuggly plushie toy.
Each year, staff at Zoo Budapest rescue more than 1,500 wild animals native to Hungary, including many protected birds, small mammals, and reptiles. The European or Eurasian Beaver is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a species of Least Concern. However, their current stability is due to active conservation programs. Historically, European Beavers have been heavily exploited throughout Eurasia for their dense fur and for castoreum, a scent-gland secretion used for perfumes and also for artificial food flavorings. Loss of wetland habitats also contributed to their decline. Thanks to conservation efforts, reintroduced populations are successfully expanding in areas where beavers were once locally extinct. Unfortunately, their numbers are dwindling in Asia, where, according to the IUCN, conservation action is desperately needed.
One special dad celebrated at the UK's Drusillas Park this past Sunday (Father’s Day) after becoming a father for the very first time. North American Beaver Gnasher saw his two kits born on June 5. Since then the proud pop has barely left their side. The babies are already mini replicas of him, with tiny webbed feet, flat tails, and semi-developed incisors. For now they remain within the safety of the lodge, but in no time they will be taking their first swimming lessons with Gnasher paddling alongside.
Head Keeper Mark Kenward commented: “It’s always difficult to know how an animal will cope with becoming a parent for the first time but in Gnasher’s case there really was no need to worry. From the moment the kits were born, he has protected and cared for them and even cut the umbilical cord with his teeth. He has proven himself to be a fantastic dad and deserves to be thoroughly spoilt this Father's Day.”
Photo Credit: Drusillas Park
Read more and see another picture after the fold:
Jackson Zoo's three North American Beaver kits, born March 27th, will be named today! Jackson Zoo is hosting a naming contest. They're done taking name submissions, but if you want to vote for your three favorites, the poll is available today on the zoo's Facebook page.
Read the first ZooBorns post about the beaver kits here.
Photo credits: Jackson Zoo
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