The full Moon November 2024 marks a time when some of the first snow falls in the northern US and Canada. It’s a time when most trees and shrubs have shed their leaves. Frost gathers on blades of grass and beavers begin to build their dams before the ground freezes. Hence the traditional full Moon name, “Beaver Moon.” Winter is coming. November’s weather seems to be asking, “Are you ready?”
Full Moon November 2024: November 15
Peak Illumination: 4:28 p.m. Eastern Time
Why Is The November Full Moon Called The Beaver Moon?
America’s largest rodent knows that late autumn is the time to build a home. Beavers get busy this time of year finalizing their lodges, which is one possible explanation as to how the November full Moon became known as the Beaver Moon.
Measuring up to four feet long from the tip of its nose to the end of its paddle shaped tail and weighing in between 35 and 65 pounds, beavers are widespread across the United States. Only the deserts in California and Nevada and parts of Arizona and Utah are devoid of beavers building lodges this time of year.
Beaver chew through deciduous trees with four chisel-like teeth and powerful jaws. The timber combined with small brush and a thick coating of mud and rock forms their homes and supplies the beavers with food for the winter. Snacking on aspen, willow, ash, birch and other hardwood trees allows the beavers to remain inside their lodges most of the winter.
Beaver lodges can reach heights of 6 feet and span as wide as 39 feet. The lodge entrance is located underwater. Inside, the floor inside is often covered in wood shavings that act as bedding and absorb extra moisture.
The lodges or dams can be a source of frustration to landowners who might try to destroy the homes. However, eager beavers are efficient at home repairs. According to a University of New Hampshire extension article: “Beaver pay particular attention to the process of maintaining the dam and a constant water level. In fact, most colonies will rebuild a dam faster than most people can attempt to destroy it.”
State wildlife agencies monitor and control beaver trapping and hunting to maintain healthy populations.
Beavers were on the brink of extinction in New Hampshire during the late 19th century. This decline was largely driven by the high demand for beaver pelts, as fur clothing was in vogue during the early 1800s. Beaver pelts reached their thickest during the winter months, and trappers were paid based on the weight of the pelts. As a result, November became a crucial month for beaver harvesting, as trappers didn’t have to deal with heavy snowfall yet. It is plausible that this is how November’s full Moon acquired its name.
Alternative Names For The November Full Moon
The beaver isn’t the only animal inspiring names for November’s full Moon. To the Cheyenne of the Great Plains it is the “Deer Rutting Moon.” In the Southeastern region it is the “Panther Moon” among the Choctaw. Two birds are honored this time of year too: “Fledgling Hawk Moon” to the Hopi of the Southwest, and the “Turkey Moon” to the Potawatomi in The Great Lakes region.
The other unifying name for November’s full Moon focuses on cold weather or just the signs of cold weather to come. November’s full Moon is the “Moon of Much White Frost On Grass” to the Algonquin, and the “Frost Moon” in the language of the Assiniboine in the Northern Plains and Creek in the Southeast.
All of the United States and Canadian provinces (except for the most southern states) usually get at least one frost before the first of November, but it becomes more common as temperatures continue to plummet with the days get shorter.
For the Abenaki, Arapaho, and Cree this is the “Moon When The Rivers Begin To Freeze.” For the Anishnaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe) and Passamaquoddy it is simply the “Freezing Moon.” Among the Comanche it is the “Heading To Winter Moon.”
Even in the Southwest it is a time of cold as the Pueblo name this the “Moon When All Is Gathered In.”
For those living in northern climates, perhaps the most appropriate name comes from the Kalapuya in the Pacific Northwest who call this the “Moon Of Moving Inside For Winter.”
Join The Discussion
What is your favorite name for November’s full Moon?
If you could rename the Beaver Moon, what would you call it?
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Daniel Higgins is a lifestyle writer with two decades of experience who covers a wide variety of interests, from folklore to food and drink. Higgins writes for The New York Times, USA Today, and Yahoo News.