Eurasian Beaver

Castor fiber

The Eurasian beaver or European beaver is a species of beaver, which was once widespread in Eurasia, where it was hunted to near extinction both for fur and for ''castoreum'', a secretion of its scent gland believed to have medicinal properties. Re-introduced through much of its former range, it now occurs from the British Isles to China and Mongolia.
Evidence of Eaurasian Beaver in De Dijle There are beavers in the river Dijle very close to our town, Sint-Joris-Weert in the nature reserve Doode Bemde. We never see them but we see their paths in and out of the water and their tree chewing. Is nice to know they are there :-) Belgium,Castor fiber,Eurasian Beaver,Geotagged,Spring

Appearance

The fur colour of Eurasian beavers varies geographically. Light, chestnut-rust is the dominant colour in Belarus. In Russia, the beavers of the Sozh River basin are predominantly blackish brown, while beavers in the Voronezh Reserve are equally distributed between brown and blackish-brown.

Eurasian beavers on average weigh 18 kg, the largest specimen on record having weighed 31.7 kg.
Eurasian_Beaver1 There are around 300 in the Nationaal Park De Biesbosch and if you know when and where to see them they are fairly photogenic. Castor fiber,Eurasian Beaver,Geotagged,Netherlands,Summer

Naming

Historically eight subspecies of Castor fiber were described, one for each of the eight 19th–20th century refugia where the species never became extinct. The basis of the differentiation was morphological, largely based on very small differences in cranial morphology, but has been recently refuted based on genetic studies. In 2005, Durka ''et al.'' showed that only two evolutionarily significant units exist based on mitochondrial DNA studies, a western phylogroup and an eastern phylogroup . In addition, Ducroz ''et al.'' found that even in the more genetically diverse eastern phylogroup, the degree of genetic divergence was below thresholds considered sufficient for subspecies differentiation.
Eurasian Beaver - Castor fiber Seen in Forestia, animal park located in Spa, Belgium, in August 2020.  Belgium,Castor fiber,Eurasian Beaver,Geotagged,Summer

Habitat

Beaver are a keystone species helping support the ecosystem of which they are a part. They create wetlands which increase biodiversity and provide habitat for many rare species such as water voles, otters and water shrews. They coppice waterside trees and shrubs so that they re-grow as dense shrubs which provide cover for birds and other animals. Beaver dams trap sediment and improve water quality; recharge groundwater tables and increase cover and forage for trout and salmon. A recent study in Poland, found that beavers increased abundance and diversity of bats apparently because they create gaps in forest cover making it easier for bats to navigate in.
Beaver dam This is a dam made by beavers. They do this to keep the water level constant. Castor fiber,Eurasian Beaver,Geotagged,Germany

Reproduction

Eurasian beaver have one litter per year, coming into estrus for only 12 to 24 hours, between late December and May but peaking in January. Unlike most other rodents, beaver pairs are monogamous, staying together for multiple breeding seasons. Gestation averages 107 days and they average three kits per litter with a range of two to six kits. Most beaver do not reproduce until they are three years of age, but about 20% of two year old females reproduce.

References:

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Status: Least concern | Trend: Up
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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderRodentia
FamilyCastoridae
GenusCastor
SpeciesC. fiber