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Sunday, 13 May 2012

Beaver

Beavers weigh up to 70lb and wat reeds, leaves and bark..

Beavers have transparent eyelids that work like goggles and can stay underwater for 15 minutes.

They have four razor-sharp incisors for cutting and 16 back teeth for chewing. Their front teeth never stop growing.

They can cut down a 6in diameter tree in three minutes - faster than a human with an axe.

A beaver can fell up to 300 trees in a single winter.

They live in family groups. Older offspring help look after babies.

Beavers swim at an average of 5 mph.

Beavers can swim underwater for 15 minutes. They have transparent eyelids so they can see underwater with their eyes shut.

Beavers are herbivorous, but in March 2013 a man in Belarus died from his injuries after being attacked.

When beavers lived in the wild, their flat, scaly tail led many Roman Catholics to class them as fish-which meant Catholics could eat them on Fridays.

Beavers dam stream and rivers with branches, mud and stones to create still, deep pools. This enables them to build a lodge for refuge during the winter.

Lodges made by Beavers have two chambers. The floor of the first chamber is a few inches above the water level and is used to dry off after coming out of the water. The floor of the second chamber is above the first, and is used for sleeping and caring for kits (baby beavers).

A beaver's lodge and dam is the largest structure built by any animal.

The largest beaver dam known to exist is currently in Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta, Canada and measures 850 metres in length.

They grow to the size of a tubby spaniel and are the second-largest rodent in the world - that honour goes to the South American capybara.

Beavers teeth never stop growing.

Beaver teeth are orange because they contain iron. This gives them strength and prevents against tooth decay.

As well as being hunted for meat and fur, beavers are also valued for a secretion from their anal glands called castoreum, which was used as a pain relief in medieval times. It’s still used in perfumes and as a food additive.

50 beavers were introduced into Tierra del Fuego in the 1940s to help start a fur trade. There are now over 100,000, and they have devastated over 16 million hectares.

European beaver numbers fell to 1,200 at the turn of the 20th century but they have been reintroduced to more than 20 countries

Sources Daily Mail, Radio Times

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