Beaver vs Otter

Do you understand the distinction between an otter and a beaver? Despite having a similar appearance, these two species differ significantly in in important ways.

We’ll talk about the physical traits of beavers and otters in this blog post, as well as their habits and food.

We’ll also look at how these two critters are alike and different from one another to make it easier for you to recognize them in the wild.


The family Mustelidae and order Carnivora include the semi-aquatic carnivorous animal known as the otter. There are 13 different species of otters that live in aquatic settings throughout Europe, Asia, the Mediterranean region, and the Americas. They have short legs and an extended, lean physique.

Due to their webbed paws, they can swim well in water. Their outer long hair shields them by retaining warm air within, keeping them warm and dry even when they are submerged. Their underfur is also incredibly soft. Unlike other animals, sea otters don’t often have sharp claws.

Each and every otter species consumes meat, including fish, frogs, birds, mollusks, and other invertebrates. They consume a lot of food and have a very fast metabolism. They can readily pursue their prey species in the water since they are quite active. Some species live alone, while others are sociable and live in communities.

While temperate species mate in the spring, tropical species do not have a distinct breeding season. The newborn cubs live in families, including dads and siblings, and their gestation lasts two to three months. In the wild, otters may typically live up to 12 years, although sea otters can survive for up to 25 years.


The biggest rodent in North America is the beaver, a fascinating animal.

This animal has intriguing behavior and a distinctive diet. Beavers construct mud and stick dams to create ponds where they may swim and store food. They live in colonies. As they frequently chew on trees to make canals so they may have easy access to food and water, they are also renowned for their industrious attitude.

The beaver is a keystone species—did you know that? They so have a significant impact on their ecology. Beavers generate wetlands that serve as habitat for a variety of different creatures, plants, and insects. Wetlands are essential for floods prevention and water filtration.

The Beaver has a broad, flat tail and two hairy ears. Their dark and greasy fur aids in water repulsion. Beavers can submerge themselves for up to 15 minutes and are good swimmers.

Although beavers are mostly nocturnal creatures, they can occasionally be observed during the day. They normally have litters of two to four young and are lifelong partners (baby beavers).

Predators of beavers include wolves, bears, cougars, and people. Their populations are constant in spite of this.

The biggest rodent in North America is the beaver, in case you didn’t know. These animals are far bigger than typical house mice, weighing an average of 60 pounds (27 kg)! The nutrition and habits of the beaver are distinctive. Beavers construct mud and stick dams to create ponds where they may swim and store food.

They live in colonies. As they frequently chew on trees to make canals so they may have easy access to food and water, they are also renowned for their industrious attitude.

Do Beavers Swim Like Otters?

Otters and beavers swim in very different ways and in diverse patterns.

One difference between beavers and otters is how slowly they swim. Since their bodies are more rounded, they cannot travel through the water as rapidly or readily.

Otters frequently use their bodies and tails rather than their paws to move in the water, much like fish do. Beavers paddle using their rear feet a lot more than otters do, however they also utilize their bodies and tails.

Having said that, otters and beavers are both skilled swimmers.

Differences Between Otter And Beaver

A member of the Mustelidae family, which also includes minks, wolverines, badgers, and weasels, otters are carnivorous mammals. All of the numerous Otter species may be found together in the subfamily Lutrinae if you look closely at their family tree.

Otters were significantly more numerous in the past than they are today. There are currently just around thirteen species of otters left in the world, with the remainder extinct.

Large, herbivorous rodents called beavers exist. They are the second-largest rodents in the world after the capybara of South America and are native to North America. These rodents are well-known around the world for creating lodges, canals, and dams.

The genus Castor, which has a total of three species, is where beavers are found. Two of them, the North American and Eurasian beaver, are still alive, but the third, Castor Californicus, is no longer present.

It is true that beavers and otters share a lot of the same habitats. All other similarities between the two stop there, though. Look at the table below to see how their bloodline and other physical traits differ from one another.


Face. Otters are indeed really adorable if you take the time to look at them. These creatures have a seal-like appearance at first impression.

They have a tiny face with black eyes located on the sides and thin whiskers covering their entire face. Their ears are essentially holes with very little skin on top.

On the other hand, a beaver’s visage resembles other rodents quite considerably. The hair around their nose is lighter in tone than the rest of their body, and they have tiny, dark eyes.

Compared to Otters, they have larger, black, spherical ears that are situated to the side of their eyes.

Teeth. The lower jaw of otters has two sharp teeth that stick out with a wide space between them. Beavers have two nearly-joined front teeth in their upper jaw that are orange in color, as opposed to the Otter’s white teeth.

These teeth are used by beavers to cut through wood. Beavers have closed noses, see-through eyelids, and ears for swimming.

Body. Otters have very short limbs compared to their long, slender bodies. Otters have brown, lustrous fur that extends from head to toe. The Otter has webbed feet on all four legs to aid in swimming.

A Beaver’s body is spherical like that of other rodents and is covered in a thick coat of brown fur. A Beaver has more fur than an Otter, who seems to be nearly hairless.

A Beaver’s forelimbs are formed like claws, and only its rear limbs have webs. These rodents typically stand on their hand limbs while on the ground.

Otters weigh substantially less than Beavers in terms of body weight as well. Otters typically weigh between 7 and 11 kg, whereas Beavers often weigh around 22 kg.

The closest an otter has ever been to a beaver in terms of weight is the sea otter, which is the biggest otter species in the world and weighs about 20 kg.

Tail. Their long, pointed tail, which is typically between 30 and 50 cm long, is a remarkable aspect of their body. With the exception of the Sea Otter, all otter species have a long, powerful tail that aids in swimming. On the other hand, beavers have a large, flat, oval-shaped tail that is coated with black scales.

Ecology and Diet

Otters are carnivores that prey on fish, amphibians, aquatic reptiles, and invertebrates. In freshwater habitats, they frequently act as the top predator.

On the other hand, beavers are herbivores that mostly consume leaves, roots, bark, and twigs. Their damming has the most evident effect on their surroundings. When beavers build massive dams to stop the flow of water downstream and create the enormous ponds they enjoy, they fundamentally change their own ecosystem.

Are Beavers And Otters Friends?

Otters usually reside along beaver dams and in beaver ponds, as we’ve already discussed. This would suggest that beavers and otters get along rather well in general.

While the most of that is accurate, calling beavers and otters “friends” may be a bit of an exaggeration.

A partnership between beavers and otters that coexist in the same region is known as a commensal relationship. This indicates that although the other species is unaffected, one of the species benefits from the association.

Otters frequently have no impact on beavers in their region, but they do benefit from the protection of beaver dams and the abundance of fish. This is typically the case, but there are always exceptions to the norm.

Otters are technically regarded as beaver predators as well because they have been observed eating beavers. This only occasionally occurs, and usually only when there is a scarcity of food.

So, do beavers and otters get along? They don’t exactly get along, but they do so for the most part.

Physical Characteristics

While the 13 various otter species vary in size, they all have a sleek, elongated body, a strong tail, and somewhat webbed feet for swimming.

The shape of the two beaver species, the North American beaver and the Eurasian beaver, is very different. Beavers are rodents with the customary spherical bodies of rodents, a blunt face, and well-proportioned front teeth for chewing.

Beavers, like otters, have a tail that may be used for steering while swimming, although it is larger and flatter. Beaver tails resemble paddles, otter tails resemble a powerful cat’s tail. Both species of animal have thick, waterproof coats that are brown in color to help them stay warm in their mostly watery habitat.

Do Otters Build Dams?

Otters frequently can be seen relaxing near the lodges and dams that beavers construct. This makes it simple to believe that otters are behind the construction of the lodges and dams.

Otters don’t really construct dams, but they are more than glad to exploit old, abandoned beaver dams. They occasionally don’t even wait for the beavers to go.

Beaver dams may be used by otters as a location to rest or as a means of escaping from larger predators. Beaver dams frequently produce regions of standing water, which may trap enormous quantities of fish, giving otters access to a plethora of food sources in addition to the refuge the dams offer.

Otters and beavers generally leave each other alone and don’t appear to mind sharing their territory.

How Were Otters And Beavers Named?

The Old English words “otor” or “oter” are where the name “otter” originates. These phrases have their origins in the Proto-Indo-European word “wodr,” which is also thought to have given rise to the modern word “water.”

The moniker appears appropriate for them because every surviving species of otter is either semiaquatic or aquatic.
The Old English words “befer” or “beofor” are where the name “beaver” first appeared.

The word “bhebhrus,” which meaning “brown” or “bright” in Proto-Indo-European, is where the Old English phrases first appear. The term “beaver” is quite appropriate given that beavers have brown skin.


Otters have a unique breeding season that varies depending on the species and the environment. When they are between two and three years old, both the male and female otters reach sexual maturity.

They can also mate several times if sufficient food and shelter are available. Normally, males and females dwell in separate social groups, but when mating season approaches, the former begin to approach the latter. The woman

Otters roll around with the males to indicate that they are willing to mate. Otters go on land to court, but they return to the water to mate.

After mating, the pregnancy can endure for 2 to 9 months before giving birth to a pup. Although female otters can give birth to up to 6 pups at once, they often give birth to just one.

The Beavers, on the other hand, firmly adhere to monogamy. A beaver waits to find a new lover until its current one has passed away. Beavers become sexually mature at three years old.

Beginning in January and lasting through February, it is their breeding season. After a 120-day gestation period, the female Beaves can deliver three to four kits at once.

Relationships With Humans

These creatures’ demise has been brought on by their thick coats. In the 19th and 20th centuries, otters and beavers were exposed to unrestricted trapping for their pelts, and as a result, they have both vanished from many of their old habitats. They have also been harmed by water pollution and habitat degradation.

The North American river otter is making a return in certain locations because to tighter trapping regulations, but the other species are still in danger. Five otter species are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, while eight species have declining populations.

On the other hand, both beaver species have steady or growing populations. The number of Eurasian beavers has been continuously increasing since the start of beaver reintroduction operations in the 20th century.

Although neither group has been widely pursued as a pest, beavers are occasionally considered a nuisance due to their damming activities, and otters are occasionally blamed for the loss of fish sources. However, those who would rather have neither beavers nor otters present in freshwater settings may oppose reintroduction initiatives.