Illustration from Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia/Corbis
February 26, 1806, at Fort Clatsop, Oregon.
Woodchucklike but smaller, with a short heavy body. Dark brown above; paler brown below. Blunt head; small ears and eyes; distinctive white spot below ear. Tiny tail. Length: 9.4–18.5 in (24–47 cm); tail: 0.8–2.2 in (2–5.5 cm). Weight: 1–3 lb (0.5–1.4 kg).
Moist forests, especially near streams.
Extreme southwestern British Columbia, western Washington, western Oregon, northern California, and extreme west-central Nevada.
One subspecies, the Point Arena mountain beaver, is on the U.S. Endangered Species List.
Mountain beavers are not beavers, and they do not live in a mountainous area. Their name likely came from the beaverlike habit of diverting streams into their tunnels or the occasional gnawing of bark.