June 25, 2019

Seven Baby Beaver Kits

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Lucky seven! North American beavers have seven new beaver kits.

(Pittsburgh) (2019)—Its Dej-vu for the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s North American beavers. One year ago beaver parents Alice and Patch welcomed a family of six kits. One year and one day later, Alice and Patch again welcomed more babies into their family, this time the lucky number was seven.

The Pittsburgh Zoo is also excited to partner once again with Busy Beaver Building Centers, Inc. who is sponsoring the naming of our new baby kits.

It is a family affair when it comes to caring for the family members. Beaver babies are mobile as soon as they are born. They nurse for about six weeks and then graduate to more solid food.

In addition to Patch and Alice, one-year-old brothers Busy and Timber are stepping in to help with the youngsters care. They watch over their siblings so mom and dad can catch a quick nap or take a swim.

The brothers have their paws full as the little kits are full of energy and extremely curious. The kits are just now able to begin venturing outside and exploring. The next milestone will be learning to swim. Alice and Patch will patiently guide their babies to the water and gently nudge them in. Kits naturally take to the water and within a day start paddling around. Beavers can swim up to six-miles-per-hour.

As youngsters, the kits fur is short, dense, and soft. As they mature they grow two distinct layers of fur which is waterproof and helps to keep them warm and dry during the colder months.

The kits get their first baby wellness exam when they are about one month old. Dr. Ginger Sturgeon, Director of Animal Health at the Pittsburgh Zoo checks their eyes, ears, and weights as well as their coats to ensure that they are healthy and growing. It is difficult to determine the sex of young beavers so we won’t know how many males or females we have until they are older.

All of our babies are out on exhibit so be sure to stop by and see them.

North American beavers, especially in Pennsylvania are able to adjust to the different seasons. They build dams or lodges which they use for shelter and food in the colder months. The lodges or dams they build create wetlands which is good for the natural environment. Beavers are well-known for having beneficial effects on the environment through their dams and lodges, which help to create ponds that raise soil water levels higher and providing additional water and moisture to plants. Beavers can hold their breath for up to 15 minutes underwater.