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What Determines The Internal Air Temperature Of An Active Beaver Lodge In Winter?

Regardless of the outside temperature, the interior of occupied beaver lodges has a fairly stable temperature of about 32°F.  This is due to several factors, one of which is insulation. Beavers spend much of the fall collecting and stuffing mud into the cracks between the branches that provide a framework for their lodge (leaving a mud-free air vent at the top of the lodge).  This mud as well as any snowfall that occurs during the winter help keep out the cold and retain the warmth that the resident beavers’ bodies radiate. 

A comparison of the (cooler) interior temperature of bank dens and that of open-water lodges confirms that the temperature of the substrate underlying a lodge also contributes to the air temperature of the chamber.

Lastly, heat produced by beavers raises the temperature of a lodge above that derived from the lodge substrate.

(Photo: beaver lodge on a morning cold enough to show “beaver breath” escaping through the air vent that runs up through the center of the lodge to its peak. Thanks to Kay Shumway for photo op.)

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3 responses

  1. Alice

    ‘Beaver breath’ 🤣🤭,You really are so knowledgeable about these critters!

    January 5, 2021 at 11:43 am

  2. Yes, the water below the beaver dam would keep it warmer than the soil below the bank beaver. Water, if liquid, would be at least 32F and probably closer to 38F whereas the soil could easily drop well below freezing.

    January 5, 2021 at 12:04 pm

  3. Pretty sure the internal temperature of a beaver lodge is not 32 degrees F during summer.

    January 9, 2021 at 8:37 am

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