Monday, July 25, 2005

Animal of the Week July 25, 2005 -- Mountain beaver

Neither an inhabitant of mountains nor a real beaver, this weeks animal of the week is Aplodontia rufa (mountain beaver, sewellel). These medium-sized rodents are of an ancient North American lineage that has changed little for millions of years. Their primitive kidneys are unable to concentrate urine so they have to drink loads of water. Like several other rodents, sewellels are copraphagic–ie, they eat their own doings! Several subspecies live in a limited range in America's western states. When threatened or spooked, they secrete a thick rheumy liquid from their eyes, why they do this is not clear, and it doesn't really sound like a great defence to me, but last time I looked I wasn't a burrowing rodent of a group ancestral to squirrels. Apparently they are grumpy animals that wouldn't make good pets, but if I had a pet mountain beaver I would call it Brian. Then I could say to people that "Brian sewellel is a weepy-eyed, sh*t-eating beaver".


At 11:16 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Your last comment is a total slur on mountain-beaver-kind.


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