Castor fiber

Beaver, photo: Arne Ader

Beavers are the largest rodents in Estonia: they grow up to 1 metre in length and weigh up to 30 kilograms. They are light brown to black in colour. They have a unique scaly flat tail, which is covered in short scattered hairs. What makes them unique and distinguishes them from other mammals is that the claw on the second toe of their hind leg is split into two. It looks like they comb their fur with it. Beavers spend an equal amount of time on eating and taking care of their fur. They prefer to live in slowly flowing waterbodies, where there are broad-leaved trees on the shore. They build strong dams from trees (that they have felled) and mud to raise the water level, thereby often causing damage to the surrounding nature. They build their nests from branches or scrape a burrow in a steep slope. The opening of the nest is always below water surface, which is why the air in the nest is close. Adults and babies from last year and the one before that usually live together in one nest. They are herbivorous animals – in the summer, they eat herbaceous plants (nettle, reed, meadowsweet, raspberry, etc.) and in the winter, the bark and young branches of broad-leaved trees.