FAQ: Do beavers build dams?

Beavers are well known for their construction skills. They tend to build dams when their habitat does not provide all the conditions suitable for a beaver's needs. Beavers feel safe with water around them and so to ensure their safety, a beaver may construct a dam in order to create deeper ponds on which to build their lodge, and/or to enable water access to food resources. Eurasian beavers often create smaller dams than their North American counterparts, on smaller tributaries rather than broad, fast flowing rivers.

Knapdale Forest was chosen as the location for the Scottish Beaver Trial as it features a range of habitats suitable for beaver activity. When beavers do dam, this modification can have a positive effect for biodiversity. Their ponds benefit many species including otters, water shrews, water voles, birds, invertebrates (especially dragonflies) and breeding fish. Dams can also hold water in periods of drought, can regulate flooding and improve water quality by holding silt behind dams and catching acidic and agricultural run-off.

The beaver: keystone species of wet woodland and forest



Project partners

The Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandScottish Wildlife Trust
Forestry Commission Scotland

Beaver blog latest

    Comments of support

    "This is a truly unique and groundbreaking project and Biffaward is delighted to be the major funding partner." - Gillian French, Biffaward's Programme Manager

    With thanks to

    Beaver Trial Supporters
    People's Postcode Lottery

    See our other supporters

    The Royal Zoological Society of ScotlandScottish Wildlife Trust


    Beavers are back in Scotland!

    On 24 November 2016, the Scottish Government made the landmark announcement that beavers are to remain in Scotland. This is the first time that a mammal has been formally reintroduced in UK history.

    The trial population of beavers remains in Knapdale, and the Scottish Beaver partners are now focussing their efforts on re-enforcing this population to ensure its long term future.

    Boosting the Knapdale beaver population

    For updates on the beaver re-enforcement project, please visit the website of the Scottish Wildlife Trust or the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland by clicking on the adjacent logos.

    The Scottish Beaver Trial website

    Now that the Trial has ended, this website will no longer be updated. However, if you would like to browse our historical records on the website, please click the button to continue.

    Scottish Beaver Trial RZSS Scottish Wildlife Trust