Beaver Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Grace Miller

Mary Grace has taught first grade for 8 years and has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and is licensed in ESL.

What is an adaptation? What helps a beaver survive in its wetland habitat? This lesson will tell you all about the adaptations that beavers have to help them live.

What Adaptations do Beavers Have?

Have you ever heard of an adaptation? An adaptation is just a fancy science word that means the way an animal or plant changes over time to better live in its environment. Most animals and plants have some kinds of adaptations that have happened over hundreds or thousands of years.

Beavers live near water like rivers, streams, and ponds. They work very hard to build dams, which are wooden homes that protect them. Their special body parts help them live near water and build dams. Let's see what they are.

A beaver dam.


If you've ever seen a beaver in a cartoon, you know that they have huge front teeth! They look pretty goofy, but they actually really help beavers. Did you know that their teeth NEVER stop growing? This means that they are really strong and can help beavers chew wood to make their dams. Beavers have to sharpen their teeth too, and they do that by gnawing, or chewing, on branches and logs.

This beaver has big front teeth to help him chew and build his dam!


Another adaptation that beavers have is a huge tail. It almost looks like a paddle, which makes sense because they use it to help them swim. Beavers have to be able to move around in the water to live and to build their dams, so their tails help them with this. They also use their tails to hold extra fat in the winter. This way they can stay alive and full even when they don't have as much food as usual.

A beaver and its huge tail!


Did you know that a beaver's back two feet are webbed? This means that they have some skin between each toe. Along with their big tails, webbed feet also help the beavers with swimming. A beaver's front two feet are smaller and easier to move. This helps them pick up mud and sticks to build their homes. They also help beavers carry food.

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