North American Beaver (Castor canadensis)
It is the largest rodent, native to North America and introduced to Finland and the Southern tip of South America. Although common, rarely seen around Montreal due to its preference being more active at night.
How to Identify
When at land, the size and shape of its tail is a clear characteristic to identify this species. Different to the Groundhog which has a bushy tail, the tail of the Beaver is wide, flat and without hair . Swimming in water, Muskrat and American Mink may be wrongly identified as Beaver, especially on distance. Different to Muskrat, the tail movement of a Beaver is a slow up and down and compared to the American Mink, the body of a Beaver is chubby while the American Mink's body is thin and long.
Where and When to Spot
I have been able to spot Beavers during summer and autumn in Rapids Park Lachine both at land and swimming. In winter, Beavers spent most of the time in the burrow sleeping, rarely leaving the burrow to search for food underwater.