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Poster reveals gnawing mystery.

Byline: Mark Baker The Register-Guard

Welcome to the Nutria nutria (n`trēə) or coypu (koi`p  State, home of the Oregon State University Oregon State University, at Corvallis; land-grant and state supported; coeducational; chartered 1858 as Corvallis College, opened 1865. In 1868 it was designated Oregon's land-grant agricultural college and was taken over completely by the state in 1885.  Nutrias and their mascot, Benny the Nutria.

Doesn't sound right, does it?

Well, let us explain this funny "tail," one most likely with a skinny, ratlike ending, and not a flat, wide one.

No, the nutria has not replaced the beaver as Oregon's state animal. But someone with a sharp eye who attended a Sept. 29 meeting in Salem of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife's Beaver Working Group - an advisory panel working to relocate the bucktoothed critters for environmental reasons - could have made a strong case.

On the wall at the meeting was a large poster titled, "Importance of beaver (Castor canadensis) to Coho habitat and the trend in beaver abundance in the Oregon Coast Range The Oregon Coast Range is a mountain range running north-south in western Oregon that extends over 200 miles from the Columbia River on the border of Oregon and Washington south to the middle fork of the Coquille River in the United States. ," with photos of two alleged beavers on either side.

The poster was put together by Erin Gilbert, an assistant monitoring coordinator with department's Oregon Plan for Salmon and Water Sheds, who works in the agency's office in Corvallis, home of the OSU (Open Source UNIX) Refers to the Unix variants that are maintained as open source, which were primarily BSD Unix and Linux until Sun made its Solaris operating system open source in 2005.  Beavers.

The alleged beaver photo on the left side of the chart actually came from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is a cabinet-level department of the state government of Illinois. It is headquartered in the state capital of Springfield. . The photo on the right came from a Web site called, a collection of animal pictures and facts that bills itself as "the largest virtual zoo in the world."

But is that a nutria in the photo on the left side of the poster?

"I'm not a wildlife biologist, so I'm not really qualified to make that distinction," Gilbert said Friday. "I'm not an expert, by any means." Gilbert said he snagged the photo off the Illinois Web site while searching the Internet for a beaver photo.

"I just took the easiest route," he said. "I wasn't sure what this poster was going to be used for."

The Register-Guard ran a large image of the same photo, downloaded from the Illinois Web site, in a story that ran in Tuesday's Oregon Life "Outdoors" section titled "State of the Beaver." (The photo link provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is an agency of the government of the U.S. state of Oregon responsible for programs protecting Oregon fish and wildlife resources and their habitats.  was from the Illinois Web site).

The newspaper received several e-mails and letters to the editor insisting the photo was of a nutria.

"The picture you printed on Tuesday a on the front page of section D was that of a nutria and not our state animal the beaver," wrote Springfield's Tony Helfrich, an experienced trapper. "Thought you might like to know."

"The long guard hairs and grey/white whiskers See metal whiskers.  gave it away for me, as did the nose which is covered in hair," wrote Jeff Jones of Eugene.

"The beaver has only a few thin whiskers while the Nutria has several light colored whiskers," wrote Kevin Lewellyn of Springfield. "The Beaver's nose is like a dog's; predominate dark and rough, while the Nutria's is not. The Beaver is lighter in color while the Nutria is darker. The hands of the beaver are not as dark or as webbed as the Nutrias and the nails are not as long."

Curious, we asked a few experts to take a gander Gander, town (1991 pop. 10,339), NE Newfoundland, N.L., Canada. Gander's airport, an important base in World War II, is a hub for international flights; it also attracts many refugees. It was the site of a Dec.  at the photo on Friday. And where better to start than at OSU?

"It looks a little suspicious," said Dana Sanchez, an assistant professor in the school's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, who is part of the Beaver Working Group and was at the Sept. 29 meeting.

"I can't see a tail. I can't determine from this picture, but there is doubt in my mind." After consulting with some OSU biologists, Sanchez called back and said: "The thing that gives us pause is not being able to see the tail."

Beavers have flat, wide tails and nutrias have skinny ones, Fish and Wildlife Department biologist Rick Boatner said. Boatner looked at the photo Friday and said "it's definitely a nutria." You can tell by the size of the eyes and the shape of the face, he said. Even though they are larger animals, "Beavers have small eyes and ears," Boatner said. And the snout snout

the upper lip and the apex of the nose, especially of the pig. Called also rostrum. Has a specialized skin to survive the rigors of rooting, is supported by a separate bone (the os rostri), and also has a few sensory hairs.
 on a beaver is more round, he said.

Even the folks in Illinois agree it could well be a nutria in the photo. A wildlife biologist with the state's Department of Natural Resources Many sub-national governments have a Department of Natural Resources or similarly-named organization:
  • Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines
  • Natural Resources Canada
 said "based on light colors on the face and the white whiskers a it's a nutria," according to spokeswoman Stacey Solano. But then what does Illinois really know? According to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center The National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) was founded in 1975 as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) Office of Biological Services. Its headquarters are located in Lafayette, Louisiana. , nutria are now extinct in the Land of Lincoln.

With that, we turn to another expert on identifying beavers, the Oregon Duck mascot.

"Beaver or nutria, doesn't matter," the Duck said via his iPhone. "Both overgrown overgrown

said of a part that has not been kept trimmed.

overgrown hoof
overgrown hooves put unusual stresses on bones and tendons and allow for distortion of the wall and sole.
 rodents are over-populated and should kindly leave the duck pond alone! Who wouldn't recognize my beautiful face, what with my curvaceous cur·va·ceous  
Having the curves of a full or voluptuous figure.

cur·vaceous·ly adv.
 bill and sparkling lovable eyes?"

Register-Guard reporter Mike Stahlberg contributed to this story.
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Title Annotation:City/Region; A state fish and wildlife meeting on beavers may have featured a nutria
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Oct 10, 2009
Next Article:Nobel decision finds fans, skeptics in Oregon.

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