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DWR Field Guide - Beaver

DWR Field Guide - Beaver

Posted - Oct. 9, 2011 at 12:40 p.m.

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The North American beaver is the continents largest rodent and fairly common here in Utah. They can be up to four feet long and weigh up to seventy five pounds. You'll find the shy beaver in slow moving streams, ponds, small lakes and reservoirs. Built for life in the water, beavers have webbed hind feet and a large, flat, nearly hairless tail. The tail is used for balance and is also a way to signal danger or warn away predators.

Beaver pelts were used for barter by Native Americans in the 17th century to gain European goods. They were so valued that they were once the unit of currency. The North American beaver population was almost wiped out by 1930, but conservation measures have since restored their numbers to relatively healthy levels.

Herbivorous, they eat leaves, twigs and bark of most tree species. They also stockpile branches and logs by sticking them into the mud at the bottom of their pools to use for food in winter. For more information on the beaver or any other Utah creature.


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