Traveling north of Edmonton earlier this year there were signs of the endemic giant land beaver. A species not well known but definitely one people should spend the time to find out about. It is much larger than its cousin the castor canadensis, the official emblem of Canada, the semi-aquatic rodent better known as the beaver.
Think of a small bear with a huge flat tail, a vestige remaining from when it too plied the inland waters. As does its small swimming relative it still cuts down trees and piles them to make a shelter, a house so to speak. These houses dot the landscape and are easily distinguishable from the highway.
This animal is not often seen as it is nocturnal similar to its cousin but the giant beaver houses are proof they are about. Last week as we came back from a kayak trip to central Alberta I noted that the giant land beaver’s habitat has extended south of Edmonton. There are houses in many of the farmer’s fields. They are slightly smaller than the ones up north but definitely indicate the presence of the land beaver. I have yet to see one of these creatures but my eyes are always peeled. Unfortunately being old we don’t travel at night often so actually sighting one will be difficult.
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