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The Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber)

After being hunted to extinction in England, the government has decided that a family of beavers can remain and repopulate. This is due to a landmark study that showed that the beavers were beneficial to land management and floodplains.

Physical Description and Behavior

Beavers are one of the largest living rodents behind Capybaras. They are 80–100 cm (31–39 in) from head to body with a tail that is 25–50 cm (9.8–19.7 in) long. They can weigh 18.4 kg (41 lb) on average and have brown to blackish brown fur depending on the region they are in. Their tails are devoid of hair, are flat, and are covered in scales. This tail is used for swimming, as well as building.

Fun fact: A beaver's front teeth are orange, and are always growing, just like fingernails. They are required to chew on wood constantly in order to keep their teeth worn down.

They are herbivorous, eating a wide variety of plant life such as tubers, roots, and trees along the water and river banks. Their most fascinating behavior has to do with their construction abilities. They build dams out of sticks and mud on shorelines for use as a den. These dams, as they are called, have been seen as beneficial for a variety of species, such as salmon and trout. It is seen as beneficial to overall water quality as well.

Fun fact: despite being herbivores, beavers have been known to attack people out of fear. One such attack lead to the death of a fisherman after the beaver punctured an artery.

Habitat and Location

While their populations are small and scattered compared to before they were overhunted, they can still be found all over Europe and parts of Asia. This includes France, Poland, Germany, Central Russia, and Southern Scandinavia, to name a few.

The Eurasian Beaver is considered to be of Least Concern according to the IUCN Red List. However, they were once almost wiped out altogether in the 20th century. Less than 1200 members remained due to being hunted for their fur and castoreum.

Find out more about this hardworking rodent by watching the video below:

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