(Last Updated On: March 20, 2021)

Eurasian Beaver, the hard-working and diligent animal is among the largest rodent species all through the world. Their fur consists of two layers: the undercoat and the outer coat. In this article, I am going to talk about the Eurasian Beaver population, size, distribution, food web, habitat, teeth, etc.

Eurasian Beaver Profile

The undercoat of the Eurasian beaver is tender, thick, and dark-grayish in color. The outer coat is longer, lined with powerful guard hairs which can be reddish-brown in color. Northern populations of Eurasian beaver normally have darker coloring.

The scaly tail is bare, broad, flattened horizontally, and oval-shaped. The Eurasian beaver has quick legs, small ears, a blunt muzzle, and valvular nostrils.

This animal has nictitating membranes on its eyes, which shut because the beaver goes underneath the water. The coloration of their feet varies from dark-brown to black. Each foot has 5 digits whereas rear feet are webbed with a cut-up nail within two toes, which they use for grooming.

The Eurasian beaver is a herbivorous (folivorous and lignivorous) animal. During the winter, their diet primarily consists of woody vegetation equivalent to an aspen tree, birch tree, or willow.

In the summer season months, nonetheless, these rodents eat aquatic crops, bark, leaves, roots, buds, twigs, shoots in addition to crops in agricultural areas.

The Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) or European beaver is a beaver species that was as soon as widespread in Eurasia, however was hunted to near-extinction for each its fur and castoreum.

At the flip of the 20th century, solely about 1,200 beavers survived in eight relict populations in Europe and Asia. It has been reintroduced to a lot of its former range, and now happens from Spain, Central Europe, Great Britain, and Scandinavia to a couple of areas in China and Mongolia. It is listed as the least concern on the IUCN Red List because it recovered effectively in most of Europe. It is extinct in Portugal, Moldova, and Turkey.

Eurasian Beaver Distribution

Eurasian beavers, Castor fiber, as soon as closely populated all of Europe and Asia. However, because of overhunting for fur and castoreum, a chemical from their castor sacs, and habitat loss, populations fell almost to extinction.

By the 19th century, most international locations in Europe and Asia had no remaining beavers. By the 20th century, an estimated 1300 beavers remained within the wild.

Management efforts and reintroductions have resulted in Eurasian beaver inhabitants will increase. Populations are actually established in France, Germany, Poland, southern Scandinavia, and central Russia. However, populations are small and scattered all through this space.

These rodents are semi-aquatic animals, and their major habitat is freshwater programs equivalent to rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. They normally want forested areas, although may also be present in swamps and marshes.

The area of their distribution covers an enormous territory from north-eastern Europe to Central Eurasia, stretching southward from Norway on the  Scandinavian Peninsula to Denmark, via Germany to the Alps, after which eastward, reaching so far as Mongolia.

Eurasian Beaver Description

The Eurasian beaver’s fur color varies between areas. Light, chestnut-rust is the dominant color in Belarus. In Russia’s Sozh River basin, it’s predominantly blackish-brown, whereas within the Voronezh Reserve beavers are each brown and blackish-brown.

The Eurasian beaver is among the largest dwelling rodent species and the biggest rodent native to Eurasia. Its head-to-body size is 80–100 cm (31–39 in) with a 25–50 cm (9.8–19.7 in) long tail size.

It weighs around 11–30 kg (24–66 lb). In Norway, adult males average 21.5 kg (47 lb), whereas females average 23.1 kg (51 lb). Adults from the identical nation average 18.Four kg (41 lb).

By the average weights identified, it seems to be the world’s second-heaviest rodent after the capybara, and is barely bigger and heavier than the North American beaver. The largest recorded specimen weighed 31.7 kg (70 lb), however, it may well exceptionally exceed 40 kg (88 lb).

Eurasian Beaver Weight, Body Shape, Color

Eurasian beavers weigh from 13 to 35 kg and are 73 to 135 cm in size. Eurasian beavers have two layers of fur, the first is a tender dense undercoat that’s darkish grayish in color.

The outer layer is longer, stiff reddish-brown hairs referred to as guard hairs. Fur color tends to be darker in northern populations. Eurasian beavers have two castoreum glands situated next to the cloacal opening.

These glands produce a pungent, candy-smelling chemical referred to as castoreum and is used to mark territories. The muzzle is blunt, the ears are small, and the legs are quick. Both ears and nostrils are valvular and the eyes have nictitating membranes, closing once they go underneath water. The tail is bare and black with scales. The tail is broad, oval, and flattened horizontally.

The feet are darkish brown to black and everyone has 5 digits. The rear feet are webbed and the within two toes have a cut-up nail used for grooming. The tail is narrower and the skull smaller than these of North American beavers, Castor canadensis.

Inside the mouth, beavers have a skin fold that permits them to gnaw on branches underneath the water without getting water from their mouths. They have two, giant incisor teeth with exhausting, orange-colored enamel on the anterior floor. Sexes are alike, though females could are typically bigger.

Eurasian Beaver

Fur

The guard hairs of the Eurasian beaver have longer hole medullae at their ideas. There can be a distinction within the frequency of fur colors: 66% of Eurasian beavers general have beige or pale brown fur, 20% have reddish-brown, almost 8% are brown, and solely 4% have blackish coats; amongst North American beavers, 50% have pale brown fur, 25% are reddish-brown, 20% are brown, and 6% are blackish.

Head

The Eurasian beaver has a bigger, much less rounded head; an extended, narrower muzzle. The Eurasian beaver additionally has longer nasal bones, with the widest level being on the end of the snout; within the case of the North American beaver, the widest level is on the center of the snout.

The Eurasian beaver has a triangular nasal opening, not like these of the North American beavers, that is square. Furthermore, the foramen magnum is rounded within the Eurasian beaver, however triangular within the North American beaver.

Diet

European beavers are herbivorous, consuming “water and riverbank plants”, together with tubers, “rootstocks of myrtles, cattails, water lilies”, and likewise bushes, together with softwood tree bark.

Their long appendices and the microorganisms inside make possible the digestion of bark cellulose. Their each day food consumption is roughly 20% of their body weight.

Eurasian Beaver Food behavior

Eurasian beavers are herbivores, feeding totally on woody vegetation within the winter months. Eurasian beavers want willow, aspen, and birch bushes with diameters lower than 10 cm.

These meal gadgets are saved within the water through the fall months in giant portions. These food caches need to be giant sufficient to final your entire colony till the ice melts within the spring of the year.

During summer months beavers feed closely on aquatic vegetation, shoots, twigs, bark, leaves, buds, and roots. In agricultural areas, beavers will eat crops as effectively.

Beavers want herbaceous plant meals over woody vegetation when it’s out there. Beavers wouldn’t have cellulases, an enzyme used to interrupt down cellulose. However, beavers are coprophagous, taking on caecal microbes throughout reingestion which assist break down cellulose that may be absorbed after reingestion.

Body

The Eurasian beaver has a narrower, much less oval-shaped tail; and shorter shin bones, making it much less able to bipedal locomotion than the North American species. The anal glands of the Eurasian beaver are bigger, and thin-walled, with a big inner quantity, relative to that of the North American beaver.

Eurasian Beaver Behavior

The Eurasian beaver is a keystone species because it helps to help the ecosystem which it inhabits. It creates wetlands, which give habitat for European water vole, Eurasian otter, and Eurasian water shrew.

By coppicing waterside bushes and shrubs it facilitates their regrowth as dense shrubs, thus offering cover for birds and different animals.

Beavers construct dams that entice sediment, enhance water high quality, recharge groundwater tables and improve cover and forage for trout and salmon.

Also, the abundance and variety of vespertilionid bats improve, apparently due to gaps created in forests, making it simpler for bats to navigate.

Eurasian beavers are primarily nocturnal, though they could even be living through the day. Their dens are usually burrowed within the bank of a river or pond. In places the place the bank isn’t appropriate, they assemble lodges away from shore out of sticks and dust.

In the lodges, beavers reside in colonies of as much as 12. These colonies include just one dominant, monogamous breeding pair. The dominant feminine decides when it’s time for the younger to travel exterior the den for the first time and when the younger need to disperse.

Beavers are semi-aquatic and may keep underneath water for Four to five minutes at a time. They are lively all through the year, hardly coming above the ice floor through the winter months of their northernmost areas.

For this cause beavers spend the autumn season constructing meal caches within the water to final them via the winter. Food caches include woody vegetation, equivalent to willow and aspen branches.

Beavers are a keystone species, being able to alter the stream and nutrient biking of a watershed by constructing dams to control water depth. However, Eurasian beavers are more conservative than their North American cousins, normally developing a lot of smaller dams and lodges.

Eurasian beavers are very territorial and mark their territory with castoreum, a type of olfactory communication. They do that by constructing a scent mound on the shore.

They carry mud and vegetation up from the underside, holding it tight to their chest with their forelegs and pushing themselves up the bank with their hind legs till they have a mound.

The beaver will then apply castoreum to the mud pile making a scent mound. Beavers act very aggressively in direction of an unknown scent mound of their territory usually hissing at it and slapping the water with the tail and resurfacing right away.

Most usually they may create a scent mound next to it or on top of it. Eurasian beavers should groom themselves continually to keep up the water repellency of their fur. They use the split toenails on their rear toes to comb oils from their oil glands into their guard hairs.

This makes the outer layer of fur waterproof and the interior layer by no means will get moist. Without these oils, beavers would develop into moisture to the pores and skin and never be capable of spending a lot of time within the water or face up to chilly water temperatures.

Communication

Eurasian beavers talk primarily via chemical communication. Not solely do they use castoreum to mark territory, but additionally, they use their oil glands to differentiate between men and women.

Eurasian beavers additionally use postures, tail slapping, and vocalizations. Vocalizations embrace whining calls, whistling, and hissing. Tail slapping is used when they’re frightened or upset.

Lifestyle

Eurasian beavers are social animals, gathering in colonies. Beaver colonies have just one dominant breeding pair and may embrace up to 12 people. They assemble burrows within the bank of a river or a pond.

In the areas the place the riverbank is unsuitable for habitation, they assemble their lodges away from the shore, utilizing sticks and dust.

They are primarily nocturnal, although may also be lively by day. The Eurasian beavers are lively all year round. However, within the northernmost areas of their range, the beavers hardly ever come above the ice floor through the winter.

For this cause, through the autumn months, they retailer meal supplies within the water to assist them to get via the winter. They are extraordinarily territorial animals. The beavers use olfactory indicators, marking their territory with castereum.

Eurasian Beaver

Groups

Eurasian beavers reside in small family teams consisting of 1 breeding adult feminine and male, younger of the year, yearlings, and sub-adults. After younger are weaned, sub-adults assist with elevating the younger.

The younger are skittish exterior the lodge and are by no means removed from an adult. After dispersal at 1.5 to 2 years of age, they develop into sub-adults at one other colony till they’re able to breed and start their very own colony.

Habitat

Eurasian beavers are semi-aquatic and inhabit freshwater programs, together with lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams, normally in forested areas but in addition in marshes and swamps.

Permanent entry to water is necessary and preferred tree species for C. fiber are willows, aspen, birch, and alder. Beavers want slow-moving or nonetheless, deep water and can alter habitat if necessary to create these circumstances. Water high quality isn’t as essential as water entry, food availability, and depth of water.

Lifespan/Longevity

Eurasian beavers can reside 10 to 17 years of age however hardly ever reside longer than 7 to eight years within the wild. In captivity, some sources counsel that beavers can reside as much as 35 years and are anticipated to succeed in 24 years of age.

However, these ages are unconfirmed. A confirmed document of longevity in captivity in Castor fiber was 13.7 years old.

Eurasian Beaver Predation

Lodges and burrows within the bank make beavers principally inaccessible to predators. By far probably the most profitable predators of Eurasian beavers are people.

Eurasian beavers have been hunted and trapped almost to extinction for his or her prized pelts and castoreum. Today, with conservation efforts in place, Eurasian beavers are protected by legislation.

Poaching, entanglement in nets, and highway accidents are the main causes of death. Natural predators are wolves, brown bears, and red foxes. The main reason for dying in C. fiber right this moment is infectious illness.

Eurasian beavers use a “tail slap” when they’re frightened, which is a warning to all different beavers that one thing is close to. Beavers slap the water floor with the tail as they dive underneath the water and out of harm’s means.

In response, all beavers within the space will do the identical. Eurasian beavers will even keep away from food gadgets that have the odors of predators on them.

Eurasian Beaver Ecosystem

Eurasian beavers have the flexibility to affect ecosystems tremendously. Through the process of constructing dams, they alter the stream of the water and flood many acres of former uplands.

Dams construct up sediments and particles which improve carbon and reduce out there nitrogen and acidity. This changes the invertebrate community from working water invertebrates to nonetheless water invertebrates. This new water source attracts new species of birds, fish, and amphibians by offering an appropriate water desk.

Eurasian beavers keep sure woody vegetation within the sapling levels for prolonged durations of time via their looking activities. Flooded timber will die off in a year and shortly as soon as the forested ecosystem turns into an open water ecosystem.

Eurasian beavers may also alter, in time, the stand construction across the water’s edge. They do that via their food choice, making circumstances favorable for unselected food gadgets. Eurasian beavers start with a small stream and construct a dam, flooding a forested space.

Once the beavers deplete their sources, they transfer on and abandon the pond. Succession within the pond results in the event of marsh habitat after which meadow.

The lower nitrogen and acidity together with the rise in carbon hinders the growth of woody vegetation for a while however ultimately woody vegetation begins to develop forest is regeneration.

Eurasian Beaver

Eurasian Beaver Breeding

Eurasian beavers have a monogamous mating system with just one breeding pair per colony. The breeding season takes place in January-February with the gestation interval, lasting 60-128 days.

Eurasian beavers have one litter per year, coming into estrus for under 12 to 24 hours, between late December and May, however peaking in January. Unlike most different rodents, beaver pairs are monogamous, staying collectively for a number of breeding seasons.

Gestation averages 107 days and so they average three kits per litter with a range of two to 6 kits. Most beavers don’t reproduce till they’re three years of age, but about 20% of two-year-old females reproduce.

Eurasian beavers are monogamous and just one adult pair breeds per colony. Females come into estrus between January and February, but sometimes heat winter climate can lead to a breeding season as early as December.

Copulation takes place within the water more often than not however, in some instances, takes place within the lodge. The male will method a feminine floating within the water from the facet, copulation could final wherever from 30 seconds to three minutes.

Most copulations happen at night. If a mature feminine isn’t impregnated the first time she is going to come into estrus 2 to Four instances once more all through the season. Family members cooperate to look after the younger of the first pair.

The feminine normally offers start to 1-Three infants, generally as much as 6 and more. The mom takes care of the younger, cleansing them and offering with meals.

The infants are weaned at the age of 6 weeks, after which sub-adults within the colony assist them with meals, bringing them tender bark and small sticks, till the younger attain the age of three months.

Then, by the age of 1.5 – 2 years, they depart, generally being pushed out by the adult feminine. The beavers start mating at Three years old.

Eurasian beavers breed yearly within the spring between January and February. The gestation interval is 60 to 128 days and so they can have as much as 6 or younger, but 1 to three is more widespread. Newborn weight is 230 to 630 g.

The younger are normally weaned by 6 weeks old. During that point, the feminine takes care of the younger, cleansing and feeding them. After the younger are weaned, sub-adults within the colony assist feed them by bringing small twigs and tender bark to them till they’re about 3 months old.

At 1.5 to 2 years old younger beavers disperse, usually being pressured out by the adult feminine.

Threats

Pollution of rivers and streams, lack of habitat in addition to highway accidents are amongst major threats to the Eurasian beaver inhabitants. In Mongolia, the species are illegally hunted.

On the opposite hand, in the north-west of Russia and in Finland, they’re threatened by the competitors with the launched inhabitants of American beaver.

Population

The general inhabitants of the Eurasian beaver are at the moment rising however no general inhabitants estimate is out there. On the IUCN Red List, the species is classed as Least Concern (LC). In 2006, the total number of inhabitants of the Eurasian beavers was estimated at 639.000 people with China, holding 700 beavers and Mongolia – 150.

Eurasian beavers play an essential position within the ecosystem of their range. By constructing dams, they alter the water stream, thus flooding giant areas of uplands and attracting new species of fish, amphibians, and birds.

Then, in a year, the woody crops die off underneath the water, and a forested ecosystem offers a strategy to an open water ecosystem. In addition, because of looking woody vegetation, these animals assist keep woody crops within the sapling levels over long durations of time.

Eurasian Beaver Facts

In order to maintain their fur water repellent, these animals must continually groom themselves. Split nails on their rear toes are used for combing oils out of their oil glands into the guard hairs. Due to those oils, the beavers can hold their pores and skin dry and are capable of spending long durations of time in chilly water.

In spite of getting poor eyesight, beavers possess transparent eyelids that assist them to see underneath the water. They even have a powerful sense of listening to, odor and contact.

They are normally fairly sluggish on land. However, the webbed feet of beavers assist them in water, making these animals glorious swimmers.

Beavers are capable of stay underneath water for about 15 minutes.

Beaver is Canada’s national animal, which includes the Canadian five-cent coin.

They are at all times busy, working diligently and productively each day and night. No surprise it’s mentioned, “as busy as a beaver”.

Eurasian Beaver Conservation

The Eurasian beaver Castor fiber was as soon as widespread in Europe and Asia however by the start of the 20th century each the numbers and range of the species had been drastically diminished, primarily because of looking.

At this time, the worldwide inhabitants were estimated to be around 1,200 people, dwelling in eight separate sub-populations. In 2008, nonetheless, the IUCN granted the Eurasian Beaver a standing of least concern, with the justification that the species had recovered sufficiently with the assistance of worldwide conservation programs.

Currently, the biggest numbers may be discovered throughout Europe, the place reintroductions have been profitable in 25 international locations and conservation efforts are ongoing. However, populations in Asia stay small and fragmented and are underneath appreciable menace.

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