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The Bitterling

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From divers to aerobatic artists

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The Lapwing

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An actor and camouflage expert

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Buzzards and Kestrels

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The beaver is the largest rodent in the northern hemisphere, where it can be found on every continent. Including its flat tail, it can grow to well over one metre long. However, animals are all the more endangered the more they have to offer us people. And this is where the beaver is unlucky. Its thick fur keeps it dry and warm in the water. We also appreciate these properties and don't care whether the beaver wants to give up its coat or not. We use castoreum, a secretion from beaver glands that it uses to care for its fur, in various well-known perfumes. In the Middle Ages the beaver was even valued as a Lenten dish. Although you couldn't eat any red meat during Lent, the beaver lives in water and has a scaly tail, so it was quickly classified as a fish. Furthermore, the old wives' tale that beavers decimate fish stocks is very persistent. But the cute little chap is a pure vegetarian. All of this means that it was almost eradicated in central Europe. The fact that it is an expert engineer didn't help it at all. However, it only builds the famous beaver's dam if it can't find anywhere suitable to live. The entrance to a beaver's home must always be underwater. Only when the water level fluctuates too much and the entrance could become dry does the beaver take control of the situation with a dam. It is thus one of the few animals that can create its own suitable habitats. Because it now enjoys nature conservation protection in Europe, it is starting to regain a foothold in areas from where it had been absent for centuries. Seen through beavers' eyes, this landscape is very promising - riparian woods provide food and building materials, and there is no need to build dams in the calm oxbow lakes and quarry ponds. In actual fact, a few beavers seem to have already recognised these comforts and decided to become residents of the Lower Rhine. But you will hardly ever see them because they are very shy and nocturnal.

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Pleased to Meet You, Beaver

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Common toads

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Braunes Langohr im Flug, Foto: D. Nill

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Nocturnal aeronautical artists

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A Paradise Not Just for People

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