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The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

Recreating Nature Indoors

Ever wonder who made the dioramas in our mammal halls? Read all about the artists who created these wonderful scenes. Learn more >

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Castor canadensis (Kuhl, 1820)

Beaver diorama in the North American Mammal Hall


 Gros Ventre Mountains, Wyoming

Background artist:

 J. Robert Sewell

Beavers are mostly nocturnal but are sometimes seen at dusk. Beavers build dams to slow down the flow of water in streams and rivers and then build stable lodges for shelter Beavers may travel far from their lodges to find food and sometimes build canals from a plentiful source to float the food back to their lodges. Logs and twigs are often stored underwater for winter feeding.

Biological Information

Range map for the beaver


North America (Alaska and Labrador to Rio Grande)


Wooded areas near lakes and streams


Formerly widespread, beavers were hunted extensively and mostly eradicated from their original habitats by the end of the nineteenth century; later affected by pollution and habitat loss but successfully re-introduced to many former habitats during the past century


Bark and twigs, especially aspen, cottonwood, willow, pine; aquatic plants

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for American beaver.