Home » Antony, Pembrokeshire’s machete-toothed beaver, sends shock-waves throughout Wales
Community Farming Pembrokeshire West Wales

Antony, Pembrokeshire’s machete-toothed beaver, sends shock-waves throughout Wales

SOMEWHERE in the depths of Pembrokeshire is a busy little beaver who is sending shock waves throughout the UK.

Beavers haven’t been seen in Wales since the Middle Ages as a result of over hunting for their fur, meat and scent glands – otherwise known as castoreum – which was used to make perfume, medicine and even food flavouring.

But now, following a sighting at an undisclosed location in Pembrokeshire, there are signs that the sharp-toothed rodent could be making a return.

“Something had started damaging the trees in our garden, to the extent that they were being felled after dusk,” commented the homeowner, who wishes to remain nameless for fear of the animal being hunted.

“The only clues we had were some teeth marks that had been left in the bark and then we realised that it had started to build itself a little lodge under the pond deck.”

And so the baffled homeowners decided to set up a stealth camera to capture footage of the creature that was displaying machete-like skills.

A few weeks later the camera caught an image that was unmistakably a beaver swimming around the garden pond and – you’ve guessed it – eating their trees.

Antony, at work in the garden

The greedy rodent has now been christened Antony, after the British military historian Antony Beevor, and spends up to six hours a day chomping away at the tree trunks and then dragging the branches around the garden for physical exercise.

“He’s become as fat as a pig but it’s so wonderful to have made this discovery as it suggests that beavers may be on the return to Wales after all these years.”

Beavers became extinct in Wales in the Middle Ages and by the end of the 16th century had become extinct from the rest of Britain.

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The Welsh Beaver Project has been investigating the feasibility of bringing wild beavers back to Wales since 2005 as the rodent  plays a vital role in enriching biodiversity by restoring and managing river and wetland ecosystems. They are known as a ‘keystone species’ because their activities can benefit a wide range of other animals and plants that live in rivers and wetlands.

They are the second largest living rodent after the capybara and can weigh in at over 50kg or 110 pounds.  They have stout bodies and large heads with long, chisel-like incisors, grey or brown fur, front feet similar to hands while their tails are flat and scaly.

Beavers can be found in a number of freshwater habitats such as rivers, streams, lakes and ponds and eat tree bark, aquatic plants, grasses and sedges.

Meanwhile the discovery has baffled wildlife experts, as Wales’ wild beaver population remains virtually non-existent.  In all probability, the beaver has been deliberately placed in Pembrokeshire with the hope that the animal will increase in numbers.

Since 2022, beavers have been protected by law in England but in Wales, where environmental law-making is devolved, no such protection currently exists.

This week’s beaver discovery could now force the Welsh Government to legislate on the issue, otherwise they may be in danger of trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted.