Animal name: Beaver
Active: 10+ years
Family: Babies/young are called kits
Where do you find beavers?
Beavers are semi-aquatic and can be in freshwater habitats like lochs and slow moving rivers and streams. They prefer to be surrounded by wetland plants, trees, and woodland.
In Scotland, they can be found in Knapdale Forest in West Argyll and on the banks of the River Tay in Perthshire.
They shelter in burrows dug into the riverbank and live in small family groups.
Beavers do not hibernate but they are least active in winter months. They are most active at dusk and dawn. It’s uncommon to see a beaver but you are likely to see evidence of their work such as felled or gnawed trees, dams, and ponds.
What do they eat?
In the summer months beavers eat aquatic plants, grass and herbs. In winter months they eat tree bark and they will also have stored food like branches and twigs underwater.
What common problems/reasons lead to beavers being cared by the Scottish SPCA?
Kits are dependent on their parents for up to two years and if anything happens to their parents it is almost impossible for them to survive.
I've come across...
An injured or sick beaver
If you come across an injured or sick beaver, please contact our helpline on 03000 999 999.
If you come across a kit that you expect has been orphaned, watch it from a safe distance. If no parent returns, contact our helpline on 03000 999 999.
Do not attempt to pick up the kit yourself.
If you find a dead beaver, please contact NatureScot for advice.
We may arrange collection of specimens for post mortem and analysis or can advise if carcasses should be left or disposed of. It is an offence to possess a dead beaver.
How do we help beavers at the National Wildlife Rescue Centre?
To give them the best chance to survive we replicate that experience. When they are young we give them the help they need to flourish and by the time the beaver is ready for release they will truly be wild and there is little to no contact with our wildlife care team.
Beaver are territorial and finding a suitable release site for rehabilitated beavers is not an easy task. We have to consider many factors including the local population and getting the necessary landowner permissions.
If you find a dead beaver, contact NatureScot for advice. They may arrange collection of specimens for post mortem and analysis or can advise if carcasses should be left or disposed of. It is an offence to possess a dead beaver.