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American Beaver

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<h2>History</h2>
<h3>Prehistory</h3>
<p>The beaver found in Ohio today is not the first of its kind to live in the state. A relation, the Giant Beaver, <em>Castoroides ohioensis,</em> roamed the land during the Ice Age. They reached lengths up to seven and a half feet - , the size of a medium black bear! Giant Beaver have been found mostly in the Till Plains of Ohio, which stretch from the state's western boundary eastward to Columbus. They became extinct about 10,000 years ago.</p>
<h3>Pre-Settlement</h3>
<p>The beaver existed in ponds, streams and rivers throughout, not only Ohio, but also most of North America. Prehistoric Indians Native Americans used them for fur and food. Images of beaver have been found in the artwork of Hopewell platform pipes.</p><p>Historic Indians Native Americans also hunted them for the meat in their large, flat tails and for their pelts. They began to trade pelts to Europeans they encountered. The European explorers of North America wanted fur more than any other resource. Including timber, gold, or land. From the 1600s to the 1800s, the beautifully thick, water repellent beaver pelt was prized in Europe and America- , especially in the making of tall, beaver felt hats. Also, their strong musk glands produce castoreum, used in making perfumes. Companies, like Canada's Hudson's Bay Company and towns, like Chicago, were formed because of the fur trade industry. For a long time, beaver pelts were used as money. The cost of a rifle was a pile of beaver skins the same height as the gun. In 1670, Hudson's Bay Company records stated that a beaver pelt would buy a pound of tobacco, a one-pound kettle, four pounds of shot, or two hatchets. </p><p>The Iroquois living in the New York area led the fur trade. They fought other Native American Indian tribes for prime beaver territory. When the beaver population declined in this area by the middle of the 17th century, the Iroquois moved westward into the Ohio country. The intense competition for control of the fur trade between tribes and the French and English was a major cause of the Beaver Wars. </p>
<h3>Settlement</h3>
<p>The heaviest trapping occurred in Ohio between 1750 and 1800. In the 1770s, David Zeisberger, a Moravian Missionary remarked, &quot;<em>The beaver was formerly found in great numbers in this region, but since the Indians have learned from the whites to catch them in stell-trap [sic], they are more rarely found.</em>&quot; Because of intense trapping, beaver populations drastically fell by the end of the 18th century. </p>