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Posts tagged “Waterproofing Fur

Grooming Beaver

Beavers are constantly grooming and oiling their fur to waterproof it. Typically when grooming, a beaver sits upright with its tail curled under its body and extended in front of it between its two hind legs. This allows the cloaca (an opening which contains ducts for everything from evacuation to reproduction, plus oil and castoreum glands) to be exposed. The beaver uses its front feet to retrieve creamy-yellow waterproofing oil from its inverted oil glands and then rubs it carefully over all of its body. Without constant waterproofing the beaver’s fur would soon become soaking wet and the beaver would not be able to tolerate the cold water.

Beavers Grooming

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Usually inside their lodge, but occasionally outside, beavers spend hours a day coating their fur with a self-made water-repellent liquid.  This is accomplished by rubbing an oily secretion from their anal glands into their fur, thereby waterproofing it.  For the first month or two of life, young beavers don’t produce this substance, and their parents must apply their own secretion to the coats of their young.  Beavers groom themselves wherever they can reach, but rely on other family members to waterproof their backs, which is what is going on in the last photograph of the series.