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Beavers Grooming

Beavers spend an inordinate amount of time grooming themselves (and each other). Both inside their lodge and on land a beaver tucks its tail between its legs, sits up on its hind legs and spends up to an hour at a time fastidiously combing through its fur often multiple times a day. 

Both front and hind feet are pressed into service.  The two inner toes on each hind foot are modified for grooming – the second toe has a “split nail” with a nail and a horny growth between the nail and the toe which has a finely serrated upper edge that serves as a fine-toothed comb.

Grooming serves two purposes.  One is to remove debris from the coat, from algae to burrs and parasites.  The other is to waterproof the beaver’s coat. A beaver applies an oily substance from its anal glands to the outer layer of hair with the help of its toes, thereby preventing its inner, denser, underfur from getting wet.

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7 responses

  1. Alice

    That smiling beaver face reminds me of a quokka!! Beavers are very interesting animals…that’s a lot of time grooming…lots for a young beaver to learn…they must smell musky.

    July 29, 2022 at 7:36 am

  2. Margo Nutt

    What a fabulous photo! Looks as if s/he is smiling and very pleased with him/herself.

    July 29, 2022 at 8:07 am

  3. Thanks, Margo! Definitely a she…you can just make out two of her four teats – she was nursing young at the time this photo was taken!

    July 29, 2022 at 8:21 am

  4. Wonderful photo!! Makes being a beaver look like fun.

    July 29, 2022 at 9:06 am

  5. Dale Dailey

    We have three beaver on our pond and mostly see them in the water. Fun to learn more about their grooming habits. As an engineer, I particularly appreciate their ingenuity.

    July 29, 2022 at 10:10 am

  6. Dean and Susan Greenberg

    Looks like it is having fun!

    July 29, 2022 at 2:33 pm

  7. That’s one pleased beaver enjoying a good groom.

    July 29, 2022 at 5:41 pm

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