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This beaver is the largest rodent in North America and the third largest rodent in the world, after the South American capybara and the Eurasian beaver. Adults usually weigh 15 to 35 kg (33–77 lbs), with 20 kg (44 lbs) a typical mass, and measure around 1 m (3.3 ft) in total body length. Very old individuals can weigh as much as 45 kg (100 lbs).
Beavers are mainly active at night. They are excellent swimmers but are more vulnerable on land and tend to remain in the water as much as possible. They are able to remain submerged for up to 15 minutes. The flat, scaly tail is used to signal danger and also serves as a source of fat storage.The beaver's fur consists of long, coarse outer hairs and short, fine inner hairs (see Double coat). The fur has a range of colors but usually is dark brown. Scent glands near the genitals secrete an oily substance known as castoreum, which the beaver uses to waterproof its fur.
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