Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mountain Beaver

Aplodontia rufa
We've all heard about the American and European Beavers, the large rodents that use their exceptional engineering skills to dam up and control watery ecosystems. But have you heard about the Mountain Beaver? Yes! This is a real animal! They live in the Pacific Northwest and are incredibly elusive. And they aren't even really Beavers!

Despite what the common name might suggest, Mountain Beavers don't always live in the mountains. They live in the coastal forests of British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, and California. They are called Beavers because they chew at bark just like their larger, distant cousins.

Mountain Beavers are considered to be the world's most primitive living rodents. They are the only members of their genus and family, and can be traced back 40 million years. Ready for another weird fact? Mountain Beavers are host to the world's largest flea which measures .3in long!

The Mountain Beaver population is healthy, and the animals are active little herbivores year round. However, they do live in extensive underground burrows and are rarely seen. With their underground lifestyle, elusive habits, and interesting back-story, it's no wonder many people think their a myth right up there with the Jackalope!

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Western North America
Size : Body Length up to 20in (50cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Rodentia
Family : Aplodontiidae -- Genus : Aplodontia -- Species : A. rufa

2 comments:

  1. that is actually really cute...the the giant fleas not so much

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fleas... yuck. Mountain Beaver... yuck. Had one come in to our garage several years ago. Trapped it under a bucket and then it peed on the garage floor.

    ReplyDelete

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