mountain beaver


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mountain beaver,

stout, short-limbed North American rodentrodent,
member of the mammalian order Rodentia, characterized by front teeth adapted for gnawing and cheek teeth adapted for chewing. The Rodentia is by far the largest mammalian order; nearly half of all mammal species are rodents.
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, Aplodontia rufa, not closely related to the true beaver. Also called sewellel beaver after the Chinook word for a robe made from its pelts, it is among the most primitive of the rodents and the only living member of its family. The mountain beaver is about 12 in. (30.5 cm) long, grayish or brownish red in color, and nearly tailless. With small eyes and ears and a blunted muzzle, it resembles a tailless muskrat. Its enlarged claws make it an excellent burrower, and it is also a good swimmer and tree climber. Generally nocturnal, the mountain beaver is found along the Pacific coast from British Columbia to California. Inhabiting damp, wooded country near streams, the rodent eats bark, leaves, and twigs. It builds complex colonial burrows with chambers for food storage, sleeping, and nesting. The location of mountain beavers is in part explained by the fact that they cannot adequately regulate the temperature of their bodies and must therefore live in stable, cool, moist environments. Mountain beavers are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Rodentia, family Aplodontidae.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Observed levels of predation on smaller prey, Mountain Beaver, Snowshoe Hare, and Opossum in particular, are likely higher than reported, as these species were abundant throughout the study area and required limited handling time that did not generate clusters.
Mountain Beaver home ranges, habitat use, and population dynamics in Washington.
Kill location Wildland Residential Combined Species (%) (%) (%) Black-tailed Deer 58.54 41.38 55.26 Elk 8.54 10.34 8.88 Unknown ungulate 0.81 1.72 0.99 Beaver 24.80 10.34 22.04 Raccoon 2.03 12.07 3.95 Coyote 0.81 6.90 1.97 Opossum 0.81 1.72 0.99 Mountain Beaver 1.22 0.00 0.99 Domestics 0.00 13.79 2.63 Other 2.44 1.72 2.30
Wildland and residential prey compositions were significantly different, with Cougars killing a higher proportion of Deer, Beavers, and Mountain Beavers (Aplodontia rufa) in wildland areas and more Coyotes (Canis latrans), Raccoons (Procyon lotor), Opossums (Didelphis virginiana), and domestic species close to residential development.
UNLIKELY SURVIVORS: Despite primitive kidneys and a low reproductive rate, the mountain beaver (above) has persisted longer-40 million years-than any other living rodent species.
"Yet mountain beavers hang in there in some areas," adds Steele, now with the California Department of Fish and Game.