A resourceful, industrious rodent, beavers have long been affiliated with the practice of engineering.

Interviews with inanimate objects: Busy beaver

There are fascinating statues, artifacts and fun objects located all over the University of Saskatchewan campus. Get to know them a little better with this year’s On Campus News back page feature: Interviews with inanimate objects.

By Lesley Porter

Location: Engineering Building

Tell me a bit about yourself.
Well, I don’t really have a name, because I’m a beaver. But I’m the unofficial mascot of the College of Engineering. For a long time, beavers have had an affiliation with the professional practice of engineering. 

Why is that?
As you know, beavers are very resourceful, industrious animals. We love to build. Just like engineers, we can take raw materials, like branches and twigs, and—with equal parts brain and brawn—make sound structures like dams, canals and lodges. These structures protect us from predators and may even benefit the surrounding ecosystems. 

How long have you been here?
While no one in the College of Engineering knows exactly how long I’ve been here, my affiliation with the college goes way back, to 1934. I was incorporated into the college coat of arms that year by A.L.C. Atkinson, a former civil engineering professor. 

Where else can we find you?
Besides semi-aquatic regions in North America, my main affiliation is with Canada, as I was designated the country’s official animal in 1975. My mug is everywhere: the nickel, the Hudson’s Bay Company coat of arms and logos such as Roots Canada, Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific Railway, to name but a few. A cousin of mine—his name is Sapper Bentley F. Beaver—is also the official mascot of 25 Engineer Squadron, a unit of the Canadian Military Engineers based out of Alberta. He has travelled around the world with the unit, ensuring the safety of the troops. 

What is your dental hygiene routine?
My incisors are self-sharpening and keep growing throughout my lifetime. So as long as I keep gnawing, I am a happy rodent. I need to have sharp teeth to cut through so much wood—up to 15 centimetres in about three seconds! 

Are you really as busy as people say you are?
Maybe not as busy, but definitely efficient. Work smart, not hard— that’s my motto!


Information provided by Patrick Hayes, U of S Archives.