Help us to build a better understanding of Scotland’s beavers

Did you know that you are part of the first generation in over 400 years that has the chance to see beavers in the wild in Scotland?

These incredible natural engineers are once again an important, protected and beneficial part of our landscape…and they may be closer than you think.

Since 2019, beavers have been a legally protected species and they are slowly but surely expanding their range across the Tay, Forth and Clyde river catchments.

Now, in order to track this natural expansion in their range, we need your help! By submitting any sightings that you have of beavers or beaver activity, you will help us to build a better understanding of where beavers are in Scotland. This data will be fed into a national database and will make a real difference.

We’re thrilled to have you on board with this important work – welcome to the team!


This campaign has been developed in partnership with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland as part of the Scottish Beavers project.

Did you know…

beaver dams reduce the
risk of flooding further
downstream by slowing
the flow of water

What to look out for

While it’s perfectly possible that you might see a beaver, it’s more likely that you’ll see signs of beaver activity – you just need to know what to look out for.

Below you’ll find a slideshow of common field signs of beaver activity.

Submit your sightings

If you have seen signs of a beaver, please record them and help us build a better national picture of this important species.

Submit a sighting

Did you know…

beavers are strictly
vegetarian and have a
particular taste for
water lilies

How to report your sighting 

Submit your sightings of beavers or beaver field signs in one of the following ways: 

1. Through the Mammal Mapper app.

Developed by the Mammal Society, this free app is available to download on both Android and Apple devices.


2. Via an online form.

Complete the Mammal Society’s mammal recording form and your sightings will be fed into the national database.

Report sighting now

Sightings of beavers submitted in one of these ways will feed in to a national database that we can then use to track the natural spread of beavers throughout Scotland. 

Join the team!

Did you know…

the Scottish Beaver Trial
led to beavers becoming the
first mammal to be officially
reintroduced to the UK

Frequently Asked Questions

If you find a dead beaver please contact If you suspect a wildlife crime may have occurred then you should contact Police Scotland on 101.

It’s quite common for people to get confused about whether they’ve seen a beaver or an otter. After all, they are both brown mammals that spend a lot of time in water. So, here are a few handy things to look out for: 

  1. Tail: Beavers have a broad, flat, paddle-like tail – otters have a long, tapering tail. 
  2. Face: Beavers are herbivores and have a broad, rodent muzzle, otters are carnivores and have a longer, pointed muzzle. 
  3. Body: Beavers have a stocky, rounded body, otters are longer and more slender. 
  4. Moving in water: Beavers tend to swim with their head and body length visible above water, whereas with otters, you just see the head. Beavers will also sometimes slap their tails on the water as a warning. 
  5. Moving on land: Beavers tend to move relatively slowly, whereas otters are far more athletic.  
  6. What’s in its mouth: If the animal has vegetation in its mouth, it’s a beaver. If it’s got a fish (or another kind of animal), it’s an otter. If you can see the teeth, beavers have large, orange incisors, and otters have white, pointed canines. 

If you’re accessing this webpage on a mobile device, simply click on one of the links above to visit the App Store or Google Play store and follow the instructions. Otherwise, from your device, open the App Store or Google Play store and search for ‘Mammal Mapper’.

Once you’ve opened the app, you have two options from the homescreen:

  1. Start Survey – select this option if you’re going on a journey where you can safely use your phone and wish to record all the mammals you see along the route.
  2. Report a Sighting – select this option if you wish to record a one-off sighting of a live or dead mammal, or a mammal sign (such as droppings, den, feeding remains, hair or a print).

A few things to note:

For the app to work, you will have to give the app permission to use your location. If you are unable to submit your route or individual record whilst out and about, you can save it and submit it when you have access to the internet. In all cases, you have the option to take and submit a photo of the sighting, which can also be saved to your device’s camera roll. To activate or deactivate the saving of photos from the app, go to ‘More’, ‘Settings’ and check/uncheck the ‘Save Photos to Gallery’ option.

In order to be able to submit records you will need to sign up using your email address and a username. You will be prompted to do this the first time you submit a record. The Mammal Society will assign your user ID and contact to each record. If you are interested in exporting your records, they will all be associated with the same user ID.

By entering a sighting into Mammal Mapper, your data will be fed directly into iRecord where it will be verified by an experienced moderator. The Scottish Beavers team (consisting of staff from the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland) have direct access to these sightings within iRecord, so can see your data almost immediately.

Verified data from iRecord is periodically sent to the NBN Atlas, where it is then publicly accessible.

Yes, Mammal Mapper uses your device’s inbuilt GPS, meaning you can use it in areas with no phone reception. Your surveys and sightings will be stored in the App and submitted when you have access to the internet.

You can email the Mammal Society at or get in touch with them via Twitter: @MammalMapperApp.

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