STATUS: Endangered without critical habitat.|
DESCRIPTION: Lacks the paddle tail and webbed feet of the more familiar true beaver. Very closely resembles a muskrat. Approximately 30cm long, it has small eyes and ears, short legs, and tiny tail. A full grown beaver weighs less than three pounds.
HABITAT: The Point Arena Mountain Beaver is endemic to California. Burrows are often located near seepage springs. Burrows are always found in wet coastal and mountain regions of California. They prefer scrub thickets on north-facing slopes of ridges and gullies, as well as herbaceous and wooded areas.
Present: Restricted to 19 km section of Mendocino County coast near the town of Point Arena. Several small populations also inhabit a few other relatively limited areas.
THREATS AND/OR REASONS FOR DECLINE: Alteration of natural habitat caused by urban development, timber harvesting, and agricultural practices; brush clearing; predation by domesticated animals(cats & dogs); rodent control measures intended for other species.
Historic: Range covered 11.3 km of Mendocino County coast from Alder Creek to just beyond Point Arena.
OTHER INFORMATION: The Point Arena mountain beaver climbs trees and burrows tunnels. Its diet consists of plants with high water content. They also eat bark of deciduous trees and possibly their roots. The females bear 2 or 3 young in late February or march. Only one litter is produced per year by a female. The beavers are also nocturnal and in loosely associated groups.
Life on the Edge. Biosystems Books 1994. Santa Cruz, California