Beaver Fact of the Week: The Family Tree

When people talk about beavers, they usually refer to the common North American beaver, Castor canadensis. But did you know there are two distinct species of beaver alive today?

The Eurasian beaver, Castor fiber, looks nearly identical to its North American cousin with only minor differences in fur color, head shape, and weight. Despite their similarities in appearance, the Eurasian beaver and North American beaver have different numbers of chromosomes which makes crossbreeding the two impossible. You can see in the photos below how it can be hard to tell the two species apart just by looking at them!

Shown here is a North American beaver, Castor canadensis.
Shown here is a North American beaver, Castor canadensis. Image courtesy of wikimedia commons.
Shown here is the Eurasian beaver, Castor fiber.
Shown here is the Eurasian beaver, Castor fiber. Image courtesy of wikimedia commons.

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