European Beavers were once a common sight across the UK. But about 400 years ago, when Elizabethan rule was sending quests across the world, the last native Beaver disappeared from our countryside. Hunted to extinction in Britain for their highly-prized soft, thick and waterproof fur, they managed to cling on only in remote parts of Europe.
Beavers have dense, brown or even black fur. They are stocky animals with small ears and eyes and a characteristically flattened, broad and scaly tail.
Length: up to 1m plus a tail of 30cm Weight: 18g Average lifespan: 7-8 years
Extinct in Britain until 2009. No further British classification as yet.
Only present in the wild in Argyll, Scotland.
When to see
Jan – Dec
Beavers are a key species which help support the ecosystem to which they belong. They create wetlands which provide habitats for a range of wildlife such as water voles, otters dragonflies and amphibians. They coppice waterside trees and shrubs, letting in light to help plants grow and allowing the scrub to grow back as dense cover for birds and other animals. Beaver dams trap sediment, improve water quality and increase cover for trout and salmon.