The Eurasian beaver was once plentiful Eurasia, but due to these desirable characteristics it has been hunted extensively. The species is still recovering from reaching the brink of extinction at the beginning of the 20th century. Reintroduction programs in many European countries has brought the animal from a mere 1,200 known specimens to 639,000 by the end of 2003. Populations of Eurasian beaver are growing in countries such as Romania, Sweden, and Great Britain. They can still be found as far east as China.
A typical Eurasian beaver looks quite similar to the better-known North American beaver, though there are several notable differences. The Eurasian beaver, for example, is the larger of the two, weighing approximately 39.5 pounds (18 kg). Facial characteristics are different as well; the Eurasian beaver has a longer, narrower muzzle than its North American cousin.
The preferred habitat of the Eurasian beaver is on riverbanks in dense forests. Avid swimmers and divers, they live half their life in the water and half on land. They tend to be somewhat nocturnal, coming out of their cave homes at night to feed on twigs, bark, and river vegetation. Busy builders as well, they never eat the same type of trees that they use for constructing dams and lodges. These dams and lodges protect the beaver from predators, which include wolves, red foxes, and brown bears. In fact, their most effective predators have been humans.
Beavers tend to charm humans because they remind us of ourselves. They are quite social, and tend to live in families of 5 to 8 individuals. Often an older beaver couple "owns" a specific area or territory, and the other members of the group submit to them. The female member of this couple is most often the dominant one.
Though once brought to the edge of extinction, the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) is now increasing in populations throughout Europe and Asia. Though its fur and secretions are valuable to humans, this lovable animal is finally regaining its place in the wild.
The Eurasian beaver is listed as Near Threatened (NT), is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Namings for the Eurasian beaverA young / baby of a Eurasian beaver is called a 'kit kitten or pup'. A Eurasian beaver group is called a 'family or colony'.
CountriesBelarus, Belgium, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Ukraine
Eurasian beaver habitatsForest, Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha), Permanent Rivers / Streams / Creeks (includes waterfalls), Temperate forest and Wetlands (inland)
Some facts about the
Adult weight : 25 kg (55 lbs)
Female maturity :639 days
Male maturity : 639 days
Gestation : 105 days
Weaning : 76 days
Litter size : 3
Litters per year : 1
Interval between litters : 365 days
Weight at birth : 0.53 kg (1.166 lbs)
Weight at weaning : 4.2 kg (9.24 lbs)