Beaver in South Carolina
The beaver is a large brown rodent which has webbed rear feet and a flat tail. Most people are surprised to find the average weight of adult beavers is around 40 pounds, and individuals weighing up to 60 pounds are not uncommon. The beaver has a large head with no distinct neck and a large body. The tail is long, flat and scaly. Both feet have long claws which are adapted for digging. One claw on each rear foot is split and is used for grooming the fur.
The beaver's ears and eyes are small, and the nostrils close when under water. The fur consists of a thick underfur and a larger, coarser outer fur. In South Carolina the beaver's color ranges from dark brown to reddish blond.
The beaver, the largest rodent found in North America, was once abundant in South Carolina, and was found commonly in all areas with the exception of a narrow strip of sandy soil along the coast. These animals were trapped extensively by early trappers and by the late 1800s or early 1900s had disappeared from most of the state. Many feel the beaver was eradicated; however, some remnant populations may have persisted in remote areas.
During the winter of 1940 to 1941, United States Fish and Wildlife Service personnel released six beavers, which were captured in Georgia, on the Sandhills Wildlife Refuge in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. During the same period, beavers from Georgia began to invade the Savannah River drainage system. These animals established populations in counties which border the Savannah River.
The beavers in these two areas and existing remnant populations have increased their range significantly and presently occur in portions of all 46 counties in the state.
Some of the files above are provided in Adobe® Acrobat® (PDF) format. Adobe® Reader® is required to open these files and is available as a free download from the Adobe® Web site.