NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — Buttonwood Park Zoo’s population is growing with its proud announcement of three American beaver babies, known as "kits."

The kits, born May 16, are the babies of first-time parents eight-year-old female Wicket and six-year-old male Justin, and they have already begun exploring their outdoor habitat.

Beaver kits are born with their eyes open, their teeth fully erupted, and are capable of swimming. According to the zoo, one has already started testing their skills at only 14 days old.

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BPZOO Veterinarian Dr. Emmy Budas examined all three kits on May 31 and determined they were all in good health and at healthy weight. The sex of each kit will be determined at a later date, as it will require an X-ray.

“All three beaver kits are growing at a fast and steady rate,” Dr. Budas said. “They have thick fuzzy coats, which helps keep them afloat when learning to swim. They are all beginning to explore eating solid foods, which is beyond adorable to watch."

"It has been such a joy seeing Wicket and Justin be so caring and attentive to their kits. This little family is definitely a heart-warming sight to see," Dr. Budas said.

Courtesy of Buttonwood Zoo
Courtesy of Buttonwood Zoo

These new arrivals are not just adorable, they are excellent ambassadors for their species, giving the zoo the opportunity to showcase the vital role beavers play in our ecosystems.

Acting as nature’s engineers, beavers are known for their extraordinary ability to transform their surroundings through dam building using sticks, mud and stones.

They contribute so much to the environment, primarily through the dams they are known for creating. These dams create ponds and wetlands that support diverse ecosystems, serving as crucial habitats for fish, amphibians, birds, and many plant species, promoting biodiversity.

Courtesy of Buttonwood Zoo
Courtesy of Buttonwood Zoo

Dams also play a critical role in maintaining water levels in streams and rivers. By trapping sediments and improving water quality, beaver dams contribute to healthier aquatic environments.

The wetlands they create also act as carbon sinks, aiding in climate change mitigation.

Overall, beavers are known to alter their environment the most of any organism on Earth – except for humans.

When visiting Wicket, Justin, and the three new kits at Buttonwood Zoo this summer, guests may be able to witness these natural dam-building behaviors.

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