Physical characteristics

The mountain beaver has a robust, cylindrical body and is approximately the size of a muskrat without its tail. It is adapted for burrowing with a rounded head, blunt nose, long vibrissae, short ears and small eyes. The furred tail is so short that at first glance the animal appears to be tailess. The pelage is dark brown with coarse but sparse guard hair and lighter brown thick underfur. There is a small white patch of short fur at base of the ears. The underparts are slightly lighter than the back, except on pregnant and lactating females where three pairs of mammae are surrounded by zones of darker fur. The legs are short and strong for digging. The front and hind feet have five toes terminating in long strong claws, except the pollex (thumb), which has a short stubby claw and is somewhat opposable.

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