A long time ago, the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) populated all of our continent's grove forests along rivers and still waters. Later, not only did their habitats decrease, but their hunting also became increasingly merciless, so by the start of the 20th century, it disappeared from most of Europe. Only a few widely separated populations survived. In Hungary, the last specimens were observed in 1854.

Passing decades then brought a turn in their lives, and the reintroduction of beavers began successfully in several countries around Europe. The first animals arrived in Hungary in the early 1990s. Thanks to our reintroduction program and natural migration, estimates now have approximately 500 beavers living in Hungary, and they are once more a valuable part of our country's wildlife.

Orange-coloured incisors suitable for felling even huge trees are the most typical part of a beaver's body. They are experts at manoeuvring in water using their flat, scaly tails. Beavers only leave water for short periods and distances, as they are quite clumsy on dry land. Being nocturnal animals, sightings are rare. Their presence is mostly inferable from tracks they leave.

Beavers consciously shape their environment building dams of varying sizes, so as to be able to remain invisible from predators due to raised water levels. Building large scale dams is not as typical for the Eurasian beaver, as it is for its American cousin, the North American beaver. "Our beavers" usually dig holes into high banks and use these for nesting. The entrance to the beaver's castle or "lodge" is submerged under water. Females give birth to one or two kits early in the summer. Younglings stay with their original family for two years.

For the most part, beavers consume herbaceous plants in summer, eating tree bark and buds during winter. They collect a significant cache of food at the entrance to their lodges, under the water, for winter. Beavers' lives can be made difficult during floods, and they are sometimes killed after getting entangled in fishermen's nets.


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