The American beaver is a large rodent associated with waterways and wetlands. It has webbed hind feet; a large, relatively hairless,
horizontally flattened tail, a blunt head, small eyes and ears, a short neck, and a stout body. The color is a uniform dark brown above
with lighter underparts and a blackish tail.
Similar species: There are two other aquatic rodents in Missouri that might be confused with beavers. The common muskrat, found statewide,
has a long tail that is slightly flattened side to side; it is a smaller animal, usually only weighing 2–4 pounds. The introduced nutria,
which sometimes occurs in southeastern Missouri, has a rounded tail; at 15–25 pounds, it is intermediate in size between beaver and muskrat.
Size: Total length: 34–54 inches; tail length: 9–17 inches; weight: 26–90 pounds.