Eurasian (Riverine) Beaver

Castor fiberBeavers reach up to 1 m in length and 30 kg in mass. Stretching in the center of the upper side of the tail they have a hard horn keel. Amidst the horn plates on the tail, rare and hard short hairs are scattered. The fur coat is broken down in two distinct groups of hair – coarse guard hairs and thick and soft undercoat. The fur ranges from light brown to black in color.

In the past, beavers used to inhabit the entire territory of the Pskov Region. In the course of history, the precious fur game was almost completely depredated. The re-acclimatization of beavers in the region started with the first introductions in the early 1950’s. In the north – in Pskov and Gdov districts at the River Chyornaya – in 1951 and 1952 36 species were re-introduced. By the late 60’s and early 70’s the beaver successfully re-acclimatized, spread and settled in all places livable, firmly claiming a place in the local fauna.

Beavers inhabit the banks of quiet forest rivers, bayous and lakes, avoiding broad and rapid streams, as well as water bodies that freeze through. It is important that the water edge has inundated shrubbery of softer deciduous species – willows, poplars, asps – and also abundant aquatic and marginal grasses comprising the animal’s nutrition.

On the water spot they fancy beavers build lodges or holes. Holes are common given there are steep banks. The entrance to the hole is always above water level. The lodges are built where digging a hole is impossible – on the low swamped banks or shoals. The lodges look like bid piles of brushwood glued in with ooze, up to 1-3 m high and 10 m in diameter.

In the summer, beavers prefer to forage on herbaceous plants (spatterdocks, water lilies, irises, reeds etc.) In the fall, beavers intensively fell trees and are busy building up their winter-time woody forage stock.

Beavers’ fur is considered precious, and their musk glands – castoreum – are used in medicine and industrial perfumery.

The Eurasian beaver is red-listed in Russia and internationally.

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