Für die Menschen. Für Westfalen-Lippe.

Atlas der Säugetiere Nordrhein-Westfalens

AG Säugetierkunde in NRW

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Eurasian beaver

Rote Liste NRW: 3 Gefährdet

Castor fiber




Foto: Wolfgang Pott, Lippe bei Hamm
The Beaver is a semi-aquatic rodent with special adaptations for a life in the water. The most striking exterior characteristic certainly is the flattened tail, which during swimming can also be used as a rudder but predominantly serves as a support when the animals fell trees, for example. Beavers are vegetarian and in summer feed on herbs, shrubs and grasses. In the winter, the food largely consists of buds and tree bark of deciduous trees, which they fell in autumn and spring.
The entrances of their burrows — in NRW, mostly earth burrows and bank lodges with a roof of branches and mud — preferably lie under water. Beavers need water bodies of a depth of at least 40 cm. If the water is too shallow, they inundate smaller creeks with dams, which they build from wood and mud. In NRW, the largest dams reach 50 m in length and heights of > 2 m. In the Eifel Mountains, there are pond cascades of up to 26 beaver ponds per beaver family. Beaver ponds and the openings that surround them (beaver meadows) thus have a significant impact on the landscape, transform the drainage characteristics of the creeks and significantly increase species diversity.

Due to their water engineering abilities and their astonishing adaptability, beavers can live almost anywhere — in closed forest, as well as in the intensive agrarian landscape or in the middle of large cities.

In NRW, beavers currently live in the Eifel Mountains and in the Lower Rhine region where they were introduced in 1981 and 2002, respectively. From here the animals spread and have reached the Lippe River. We can also expect immigration from the southeast and northeast, from Hesse and Lower Saxony, respectively.


Lutz Dalbeck


Dalbeck L (2023): Biber (Castor fiber).In: AG Säugetierkunde NRW — Online-Atlas of the mammals of North Rhine-Westphalia. Downloaded from saeugeratlas-nrw.lwl.org on 2023/03/27



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