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Marmot vs. Beaver: 6 Key Differences Explained

The main difference between marmots and beavers is their size. Beavers are much larger, weighing between 20 to 60 pounds, while marmots weigh between 18 and 24 pounds. Marmots also have furry tails, while beavers’ tails are scaly.

Both marmots and beavers are known for their furry coats, bushy tails, and friendly nature. But, many people are unsure of how to tell the difference between marmots and beavers.

In this post, we will provide a guide on how to distinguish between these two adorable rodents. 

We’ll also take a look at the similarities and differences between marmots and beavers in terms of behavior, diet, and habitat.

Marmot vs. Beaver: An Overview

Marmots and beavers are both rodents native to North America. They are similar in size, with marmots averaging about 2 feet in length and beavers around 3-4 feet. Both have thick, furry coats. Marmots typically have brown fur, while beavers can be brown or black.

Marmots and beavers have similar physical features, such as long tails, webbed feet, and sharp incisors. 

There are several key differences between them though:

  • Physical appearance
  • Size
  • Habitat
  • Diet
  • Activity levels
  • Lifespan
  • Behavior
Scientific NameMarmotaCastor canadensis
Size18- 24 pounds20-60 pounds
DietHerbivores Herbivores
Teeth IdentificationLarge, chisel-shaped incisorsSmaller teeth that are more suited for eating softer plants and tree bark
DistributionMountainous areas such as the Alps, northern Apennines, Carpathians, Tatras, and Pyrenees in EuropeNear aquatic areas in Europe, Asia, and North America

Marmot vs. Beaver Scientific Classification

Marmot vs. Beaver Scientific Classification

In terms of scientific classification, beavers and marmots are different animals.

Both are rodents, but marmots are part of the Sciuridae family, while beavers are part of the Castoridae family[1]

Both animals are further classified into their respective subfamilies.

Marmot vs. Beaver Appearance

Marmot vs. Beaver Appearance

There are some key ways to tell the difference between a marmot and a beaver, primarily in their appearance. 

Marmots are typically smaller than beavers, with rounder ears and tails. They also have shorter front legs than back legs, while beavers have longer front legs. 

Marmots also have brown fur, while beavers can have either brown or black fur.

There is also some overlap. For example, while marmots typically have brown fur, there are some individual marmots with black fur.

Marmot vs. Beaver Behavior

Marmot vs. Beaver Behavior

Marmots are generally considered to be timider than beavers, and they are also more likely to keep to themselves.

Beavers, on the other hand, are known for being more aggressive and for taking more risks.[2] 

This difference may be correlated to their size difference. Beavers are less threatened by predators than marmots.

Marmots typically live in burrows, while beavers build dams and lodges. Marmots also hibernate during the winter, while beavers do not hibernate.

Marmot vs. Beaver Size

Marmot vs. Beaver Size

Marmots are smaller than beavers. Marmots typically grow to be about 2 feet long, while beavers can reach up to 4 feet in length.

In addition to their overall size, marmots also have smaller tails than beavers. A marmot’s tail will usually measure about 10 inches long, while a beaver’s tail are more than twice that size.

Marmot vs. Beaver Diet

What Do Beavers Eat

Marmots and beavers are both herbivores and primarily eat plants. But the plants they eat are different, as beaver mainly eat aquatic plants, and marmots live off of grasses.[3]

Marmots live in mountain meadows and eat a variety of different plants depending on what is available. They eat grasses, forbs, and shrubs. 

In the summer months, they especially eat flowers. Marmots store fat in their bodies to help them survive the winter when food is scarce.

Beavers’ diet consists of aquatic plants and parts of trees as they live in or near water. 

The plants they eat include the leaves, bark, and twigs of trees. The aquatic plants they eat include cattails, water lilies, and more.

Marmot vs. Beaver Teeth Identification

How Big Are Beavers’ Front Teeth

Marmots have large, chisel-shaped incisors that they use for gnawing on tough vegetation. Beavers have smaller teeth (apart from their front teeth) that are more suited for eating softer plants and tree bark.

Similarities Between Marmot and Beaver

Marmot and beaver are rodents that live in North America. Both animals are known for their unique physical features, such as their large teeth and tails.

Both animals have webbed feet, which help them swim well. They also have thick fur that keeps them warm in cold water. 

They are also both herbivores, which means they eat plants.

Are Marmots and Beavers Related?

The short answer is that marmots and beavers are not closely related to each other. Marmots are members of the squirrel family, while beavers are members of their own family of Castoridae which consists of two beavers. 

While they do have some similarities, they are not closely related to each other.

Do Beavers and Marmots Ever Meet?

It’s possible for beavers and marmots to meet, but it’s unlikely. Beavers typically stick to their watery homes while marmots stay on land. 

There are occasions when the two animals cross paths, though it’s rare. 

If a beaver’s dam floods and washes away, the beaver comes to land. Similarly, if a marmot wanders too close to a body of water, it can come into contact with a beaver.

Though they don’t typically interact, beavers and marmots can peacefully coexist in the same habitat.

Do Beavers and Marmots Ever Meet

Marmot vs. Beaver: Who Would Win the Fight?

When it comes to raw strength, there is no doubt that a beaver would win in a fight against a marmot. 

The beaver is a large rodent and is much stronger than the marmot. The beaver also has sharp teeth that can do serious damage to the marmot. 

Marmots do have one advantage over beavers: they are fast runners.

Beavers can’t run fast. They are built for swimming, not running. When they come to shore, they often waddle along at a slow pace.

If the marmot can use its speed to avoid the beaver’s attacks, it stands a chance of winning the fight. 

Ultimately, it would be up to the individual animals involved to decide who would win in a fight between a marmot and a beaver.


Beavers and marmots have different physical and behavioral adaptations that help them thrive in their respective environments. Beavers are dam builders with webbed feet and a waterproof coat while marmots hibernate in the winter, and have shorter tails and brown fur.

About Misfit Animals Staff

The Misfit Animals staff consists of animal lovers, pet enthusiasts, veterinarians, zoologists, and other animal experts. Our goal is to provide people with information on proper animal care.

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