Beavers are rodents, they are semi-aquatic and have webbed back feet to help them swim. They are covered in thick waterproof hair to keep them warm in the water. They groom regularly to keep their coat waterproof. On their back feet they have a double claw that acts like a comb. They can be anything from ginger to black. Their front two teeth are orange/brownish and keep growing throughout their lives. They have a large scaly flat tail which they can slap on the water to warn other beavers of danger. They can also use their tails to help them steer when they are swimming.
A BABY BEAVER IS CALLED A KIT A BEAVERS HOME IS CALLED A LODGE
Beavers are a Keystone species
This means that they help lots of other wildlife, such as Water Voles, Otters, dragonflies, toads and frogs to name but a few.
How do I know if there are beavers in my area?
You will see small trees and branches that are cut to pencil point. There may be small chips lying near them.
You may also see woody debris dams across small streams and ditches.
If you are lucky you may also see a beaver but this is more likely at dusk as they are nocturnal, which means they are more likely to come out at night.
There are two species of beaver.
The Eurasian beaver (Castor fibre) which is native to Europe and Asia and
The American beaver (Castor Canadensis) which is native to North America.
In 2009 beavers were officially brought back to Knapdale, Scotland in a 5 year trial to see if they could still live in Scotland. Unofficially there have been beavers living wild on the Rivers in Tayside since 2001. This was the first time a beaver had been seen in our rivers for 400yrs!
Beavers would have lived in and around Perth. There were some 800yr old bones found at a loch near Blairgowrie which are in Perth museum. There is evidence that beavers can live beyond 20yrs old in the wild. In fact there was a captive beaver that was 28yrs old!
Beavers are herbivores – i.e. vegans. They eat bark, leaves and root.
Beavers are native to Scotland but were hunted to extinction 400 years ago.
Beavers can stay under water for 15 minutes.
The largest beaver dam in the world is in Canada.
Beavers were not only hunted for their fur, to make hats and other items of clothing, but also for their meat and castoreum which was used in medicines and perfumes.