[AS. L. fiber.] An interesting rodent animal, valued for its fur. Formerly abundant in North America, it is now scarce, and found only inhabiting the banks of rivers in wild parts. The hind feet are webbed for swimming, and it has a curious broad tail, flattened like a paddle, which is used as a rudder. It builds lodges of branches and mud about 3 feet high and 7 feet in diameter, and is very sagacious in making a dam or artificial bank of wood, stones and clay, to protect the lodges. The entrances are at all times beneath the water, so that the animal can enter or leave its home in safety. Its powerful teeth are its chief tools, and it cuts down trees of great size by gnawing a groove all round, so that they fall as it desires, and it then cuts them into lengths. The food of the beaver is the bark of trees, and it lays up a store for winter by cutting branches and sinking them under water, placing stones on them. The fur of the beaver was formerly used for hat-making, but is now used for trimming ladies' cloaks and for gloves; and the material called castor is obtained from two small bags in the groin of the animal.

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