Beavers And Running: What You Need To Know

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Published on April 7, 2022
Last Updated on October 11, 2023

Beavers are mostly associated with the water, and with good reason. Even though beavers are a type of mammal, their bodies are not well suited for the land or running. In fact, seeing a beaver run is quite a funny sight since they more waddle than run.

Because of their webbed feet, round bodies, and short legs, beavers can only run 4 mph when startled. For comparison, they can swim as fast as 34 mph when in danger. Needless to say, beavers are not well suited for running. Even so, beavers do have to run on occasion, such as when they are startled or being chased.

Keep reading to learn more about beavers and their running habits. There’s a lot to know about this interesting animal since they have to survive both on land and in the water.

Beavers and Running

Beavers are not particularly known for their running ability and with good reason. They have rotund bodies and back legs better designed for swimming. As a result, beavers are not like other fast and agile rodents. Beavers are quite the opposite when out of the water.

However, there are times when a beaver might need to run on land. After all, these creatures are mammals and need air to live. If they have to escape a predator, they will try to make it to the water because that is where they’re most comfortable.

Are Beavers Any Good At Running?

Beavers are incredibly muscular animals, but they are not any good at running. These animals are compact, round, and have webbed feet. When you consider all of these factors, it’s easy to understand why beavers are not good at running.

How Fast Do Beavers Run?

When it comes to running, beavers can typically only run at 4 mph. This is incredibly slow. For reference, a normal person can run at 8 mph, meaning a human is twice as fast as the fastest beaver.

Furthermore, guinea pigs run about 5.5 mph, meaning those little rodents are even faster than beavers. Needless to say, these little creatures are not quick.

Why Would A Beaver Run?

Because beavers are so slow, you’re not likely to see one run unless they are scared. About the only time a beaver will run is if it is alarmed. Obviously, this will happen if a predator starts chasing the beaver. Likewise, beavers will run away from humans when startled.

Beavers know that they are not the fastest on land. For this reason, beavers will try to run to the water as quickly as possible. Once they are in the water, they have a good chance of escaping, but this is not the case if they are in a foot race.

Unless they are being chased, beavers mainly only waddle on the ground. Whenever they are looking for wood or walking around, for example, they prefer not to run. So, you are seeing a startled beaver if it is running.

Why Beavers Stay Close To The Water

As you might imagine from the beaver’s slow speed on land, these creatures like to stay closer to the water. They are very fast in the water and are much more likely to survive if they are in close proximity to it.

In contrast, beavers that venture away from the water are much more likely to get caught by a predator since they don’t have a good speed to escape.

How Far Away From The Water Will A Beaver Travel?

Most beavers do not travel away from their territory until they’re trying to find a new habitat. 2-year-old beavers, for example, are most often far away from water. Some will venture as far away as 5 to 6 miles in order to find better habitat conditions.

There have been cases of beavers traveling as far as 18 miles away from their habitat, but this is pretty uncommon. Once their habitat is established, beavers typically stay within a few miles so that they can always get back to their home when needed.

A Beaver’s Body Isn’t Built For Running

The reason that beavers are slow is that their bodies simply are not built for running. Instead, the beaver’s body is much better suited for the water. Its feet are webbed and its hind legs are short. This makes it easy for the beaver to paddle in the water. However, it means they are very slow on land.

To show the difference in the beaver’s speed on land versus water, the top speed for swimming beavers is about 34 mph. This means that a beaver in water can go about 30 mph faster than a beaver on land.

These top speeds typically only happen when the beaver is being threatened. Most beavers prefer to float in the water and only swim at about 4 to 5 mph.


  • Tommy

    Hi, I'm Tommy! I'm the founder of I am an animal enthusiast and self-proclaimed wildlife expert as well as a dog trainer and breeder of the breed Löwchen. Since I was a kid, I’ve been wildly fascinated by animals, both from growing up in a rural area where there were always animals around, but especially from seeing them in the wild.

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