• Scott Tansowny

Beaver Architecture 101: How to Build a Lodge

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

American Beaver
© Scott & Jill Tansowny

If you are reading this article you must be a beaver. And not just any beaver, a beaver that somehow forgot one of his most crucial instincts: how to build a lodge. And somehow the rest of your family doesn’t know how either. I'm not going to ask how you, as beavers, could have possibly forgot how to build a lodge as I'm sure it happens to a lot of beavers. Anyway, with this six step method it will be a breeze, so let's just get on with it.

Time Required: About 20 days

Tools Required: None

Materials Required: Up to 3000 kg of raw materials including sticks, mud, and rocks

Difficulty: Moderate

Note: If you are not a beaver, difficulty goes up immensely

Beaver Swimming
© Scott & Jill Tansowny

The Location

Step 1: Find a place to build the lodge. Search for a place that has water deep and slow enough that when winter comes and the water freezes, you will be able to happily live under the ice.

Step 2: If you don't find a place right away, don’t keep searching, that’s not what us beavers do. The key is to take an unsuitable location in a fast, shallow river or stream and change it to a deep, slow pool. To do this you need to build a dam.

The Dam

Step 3: You will need to collect sticks to build your dam. Collect sticks of various sizes and work as a team in two different shifts. While half of the family is on the working shift, the other half is on the resting shift.

Use the largest sticks or poles to spread across the entire stream or river from the bottom all the way to the surface. Next fill in all of the gaps with smaller sticks and twigs. Use mud to stick everything together and to fill in the smallest of holes. Keep dam building until the water has reached an appropriate depth, then switch to lodge building.

The Lodge

Now that you have a large, deep pool, you are ready to build the lodge. The lodge should consist of 3 rooms. One is the nursery where baby beavers are born, the second room is the feeding chamber where you will eat your meals, and the third room is the sleeping chamber. All three rooms have underwater access and cannot be entered without going underwater. This is to protect you from predators such as coyotes and wolves.

Step 4: First, collect sticks in the same way that you did when building the dam. Again, use the poles as a base and fill in holes with smaller sticks and twigs.

Step 5: Place rocks around the base of the lodge to weigh it down.

Step 6: Coat the lodge in mud. The mud serves to paste or cement everything together and insulates you and your family from the cold, much like a blanket.

That should do it. Now that you have finished you have a wonderful four season home to enjoy with your family.

Beaver beside lodge
© Scott & Jill Tansowny