Exotic Leather Blog

The Guide to Beaver Tail Skins

Posted by Abram Mendal on Oct 9, 2023 12:46:00 PM

Beaver tail skins as an exotic leather

Pan American Leathers remains dedicated to providing a wide variety of exotic skins to suit the needs of high-fashion designers of every stripe. This is why the Pan Am team is proud to announce that we’re adding a new kind of exotic leather to our lineup: beaver tail skins!

Here are a few facts about beaver tail skin that might interest you:

Introduction to Beaver Tail Skins

The beaver tails used by Pan American Leathers come from a species of beaver known by the scientific name Castor Canadensis, which are native to North America. There is also a variety of beaver native to the Eurasian continent known as Castor fiber.

Beavers are considered a nuisance species in many parts of the United States because of their tendency to build dams. These dams can cause many negative environmental and economic impacts related to the damage they cause to downstream farmers. Additionally, beavers can introduce harmful germs/bacteria into fresh water and cause damage to tree farms when they use the trees to grind their teeth down.

Reducing the beaver population improves water flow and quality, increases crop yields, reduces the tax burden on citizens, and generates economic value for poor, rural communities. However, beavers are harvested only once a year, so as to manage the issues above while conserving the species.

All of Pan American Leather’s beaver tail skins come from beavers that are hunted, tanned, colored, and finished in the U.S. 

Beaver tails are rich in historical value and are a key part of Americana culture. As noted by EH.net, it was “in the late sixteenth century, when the wearing of beaver hats became fashionable, that firms were established who dealt exclusively in furs.” This trade persisted throughout much of the period before, during, and after the American Revolution.

Beaver tails have a distinctive texture and appearance that can make them immediately identifiable. They’re also incredibly durable, being naturally scratch and water-resistant. The water resistance is largely owed to the fact that beavers are semi-aquatic animals that evolved to spend a great deal of time in the water.

4 Reasons to Use Beaver Tail Skins for Your Exotic Leather Project

Beaver tails in a variety of colorsBeaver tails might seem like an odd choice for an exotic leather project at first glance. However, there are reasons why they were a major driving force for trade in the early years of American colonization by various European countries. Four major reasons to use beaver tail skins include:


Beaver tails are naturally thick and sturdy to survive strong river currents and support the beaver’s weight when it stands upright. These tails are incredibly thick and sturdy compared to most other exotic leathers. These hides are also highly scratch-resistant, able to take a fair amount of abuse without marring the hide.

Water Resistance

As a semi-aquatic creature, the hide of a beaver naturally resists absorbing water. This allows the hide to survive exposure to water without getting damaged or becoming discolored. Because of this water resistance, products made from the hide are less likely to get damaged from everyday use than more water-permeable hides would be.


Compared to many other types of leather, beaver tails have a relatively high tensile strength. This allows a beaver tail product to resist tearing from being exposed to stresses such as holding a heavy load or being pulled on. High-tensile strength materials can be a bit tougher to work with because of their strength, but that also makes them great for hard-use applications.


A beaver tail has an intricately textured surface that might surprise some who haven’t seen tanned skin before. Upon close examination, the natural grain pattern of a beaver tail is most comparable to that of a lizard or ostrich leg skin’s grain pattern. The skin has many deep grooves that form tiny, matrix-like patterns across its surface.

Because the skin itself is uniform in color thanks to PanAm's sophisticated tanning procedures (not so humble brag), it is also easy for you to get consistent dye colors. So, if you need a custom color for your exotic leather project, beaver tails might be a good option.

Top 4 Uses for Beaver Tail Skins

So, what are some examples of ways that beaver tails can be used? How have other designers put these skins to use in their own projects? Here are four examples of ways that beaver tail skins are frequently used:

Watch Bands

The small, tight grain pattern of a tanned beaver tail makes for a beautiful appearance on small items such as watch bands. Where many other skins have patterns that are too large to really notice on something as small as a watch band, the grooves in the surface of beaver tails are intricate enough to be noticed even on men's and women’s watch bands.

When ordering beaver tails for use in making watch bands, it’s generally a good idea to order smaller skins whenever possible. Watch bands don’t require a lot of material, so you can still get about 3-4 bands from a small tail with ease.

Phone Cases

Many smartphone users love to splurge on attractive cases for their mobile devices. The thickness, scratch-resistance, and waterproof qualities of beaver skin make beaver tails an ideal material for making protective (and attractive) phone cases.

The size of the skins you order may vary based on the type of phone you’re making the case for. Smaller smartphones—where you’re only making an inlaid case—may only need smaller skins. However, larger phones may require bigger tails. You also may need a mid- to large-sized skin if you’re making a wrap case that will go around the edges of the phone.

The only drawback to using beaver tail skin for phone cases is that the hides are fairly thick, which can make it difficult to work with when wrapping edges. In these cases, it may be necessary to split down the hide to make it easier to manipulate.


Beaver tails can be a good alternative to alligator leather for exotic leather footwear. The scratch and water resistance properties of beaver tails make for excellent footwear, such as cowboy boots. Additionally, the small, intricate groove pattern can make for a striking and unique piece of footwear that is very distinct from both cow- and snake-based leathers.

When ordering beaver tails for footwear, it’s better to go with larger tails. Even then, if you aren't making whole shoes/boots from beaver tails, it is likely that you’ll need to use two or more tails to fill some of your panels.

Alternatively, you can use beaver tails just to make the counters or trim on a shoe to create a textured look that contrasts with the rest of the shoe’s appearance.


Beaver tails are often used for making high-quality men’s wallets because they’re attractive enough to draw attention, but tough enough to stand up to everyday use.

The big challenge in making men’s wallets with beaver tails, however, is finding the right size for your needs. To create one “full” large men’s wallet from a single hide, you’ll need to order a large or XL-sized tail. Alternatively, you could use two small or medium sized skins and join them down the center of a bi-fold wallet.

These are just a few of the potential uses for beaver tail skins. Need a scratch and water-resistant hide for your next exotic leather project? Contact the experts at Pan American Leathers! We look forward to helping you find the right exotic leather to meet your project’s needs.

New call-to-action

Topics: beaver tail skin