Eurasian beaver

In the Tarn river, a rich fauna can be observed, and in particular otters and beavers.

The European beaver (Castor fiber) is present for at least 5 million years in almost the whole of fresh and temperate Eurasia, and has played an important role in landscape patterns and the composition of ecosystems. Its landscaping shaped many forests and selected trees in wetlands. This “ecosystem engineer” gave their shape to many rivers, enabled the establishment of some water tables and many bogs and wetlands, thanks to its dams which retain the water. The beaver also helps to improve biodiversity when it opens river banks: it is the only animal able to cut trees that are bigger than itself.

However, a victim of hunting, the beaver was nearly an extirpated species in Europe in the early 20th century. In fact, this animal was hunted for its fur and also for the castoreum it produces (a yellowish exudate from the castor sacs of the mature beaver). Today, the beaver is protected and it has begun to recolonize some of its habitat.

The beaver is predominantly vegetarian: it feeds on stems, branches, barks, but also fruits and other plants it finds within 30 meters of the water banks. It doesn’t degrade the natural environment in cutting wood: on the contrary, it creates clearings and helps vegetative propagation thanks to coppicing.

Monogamous, gregarious and sociable, 75% of beavers live in family groups of 2 adults, young beavers over the age of one and yearlings. A family is composed of 2 to 6 beavers.

 

Photo : Ray Scott (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tayside_Beaver_mother_and_kit_June_5,_2010_Ray_Scott.jpg)

Photo : Ray Scott (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tayside_Beaver_mother_and_kit_June_5,_2010_Ray_Scott.jpg)