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The first thought is: this is not real now. This creature that swims in the water in the twilight is something artificial, perhaps a toy submarine that a joker put a muff on, a fur tube that noble ladies used to protect their hands against the frost with. Straight as a deadline and driven by a silent propeller, the thing glides upstream to the small bridge, from where it can be seen more clearly. Oh God, the thing is alive.
It has a head that protrudes out of the water, with two button eyes, a nose and ears. You shouldn't humanize animals, and yet the idea seems appealing to go for a beer with this guy who looks so damn likeable and hear what it's like, life in water. Wouldn't it be a nuisance to live in a dark cave that can only be reached with a dive, and to swim to the bank for dinner in the hope of finding a few branches there, the bark of which you have to laboriously gnaw off and those, if that Happiness laughs, still have a few leaves as a side salad? All of this would provide enough material for a cozy evening in the beer garden, but the chances of this are slim. The sympathetic guy - it is, now it finally has to get out, a beaver - would certainly prefer to stay in his damp area, which in this case is in the Würm in the Pasing city park. In addition, who knows what he would do with the beer garden chestnuts?
So no beer garden, instead a local appointment in the park with Martin Hansel. The man can also tell a lot, yes, he knows as much about beavers as if he were a beaver himself. Hänsel is a trained forester and also deputy managing director of the Federal Nature Conservation Association in Munich. His expertise is necessary because he knows the place where the Pasing beaver family has their castle. It is a summer evening as if painted, whereby the painter must have been Cézanne, van Gogh or Monet, at least someone who knows how to paint the heat of the south, because this summer was not normal for Pasing. There was no such thing in the past, it felt like 35 degrees after sunset. People had to go out into the park and enjoy the warmth, albeit with a guilty conscience because of the climate catastrophe, or to look for the cool evening, which didn't exist. In any case, the park is not a primeval forest in which wild animals would be among themselves. Here women take their dogs or their husbands for a walk, families stroll with and without strollers, alongside joggers, cyclists and other hectic people, and young lovers sit on the benches, whom their parents would interfere at home.
Will the beaver show up in such a hustle and bustle? Hansel is confident about this, and because he is obviously on good terms with the animals, one is somewhat reassured. On the way to the beaver castle, a few more basic information: Well, the beaver already existed when the Pasingers, who weren't called that back then, and the urban Bavarians in general, ran through the landscape in the bear case and pounded their mammoth schnitzel with stones. The European beaver is the largest rodent on the continent. Including its board-like, scaled tail, the "trowel", it can grow up to 1.30 meters long and weigh 30 kilograms.
If a clever engineer were to try to construct a mammal that was ideally suited for life in rivers and their alluvial forests, something like the beaver would come out, just not as perfect, because nature is always a little smarter. His hind feet are webbed, the trowel serves as a steering and drive oar, and the skin is so dense - 23,000 hairs per square centimeter - that the water and the cold do not harm it. When it dives, the ears and nose are closed and if need be, the beaver can stay underwater for 20 minutes. When swimming, only the head and a piece of the neck protrude from the water, and there is one thing in common with the not-so-likeable crocodile: eyes, nose and ears are in one line above the water level so that the animal can see, smell and hear what happens in his environment while swimming. In the event of danger, the beaver slaps the trowel on the surface of the water so that its conspecifics are warned.
Hansel tells all of this on the way to the Biberburg, a promenade that, in addition to lovers and dogs, has the peculiar phenomenon that the trunks of many trees are surrounded by wire mesh, as if one had to fear that they would run away without this fence. "Wirehthosen" is what Hansel calls the bars that students from the neighboring Karlsgymnasium have installed under the aegis of conservationists. This, in turn, has to do with the feeding habits of the beaver, which is a strict vegetarian, likes herbs, grasses and perennials, but still takes a rather rustic approach to food procurement.
In order to get to the tasty leaves, he likes to cut a tree with his regrowing incisor teeth, whereby he does not worry whether it is a valuable specimen or a common wood that grows back quickly. The rampant logging is largely put to a halt with the wire trousers, and willows have also been planted, which the beaver can prune because they will soon form new shoots, so that, as Hansel assures, the Pasinger Park will certainly not perish from beaver bites and into the steppe mutated.
In general, the beaver is a kind of landscape architect who not only cuts trees, but also - although not on the Pasinger Würm - builds dams in the river bed so that ponds and small lakes are created. People do not find everything beautiful that they model. On a section of the embankment, Hansel points to a pile of wood that looks as if a sloppy gardener has thrown twigs and branches from the autumn pruning wildly on top of each other over the years. From the beaver's point of view, the beating is at least useful. Below is the castle of the Pasing beaver family. The entrance is under water, making it difficult for enemies to storm the fortress; the lounge is above the water level, it is living room, nursery and winter quarters.
Beavers do not hibernate, which has the disadvantage that they have to build up supplies. To be on the safe side, he also digs a few side pipes along the watercourses of his area, which can extend over a bank length of up to three kilometers. The old Alfred Brehm, who occasionally judged very harshly about individual animal species, speaks in his "Animal Life" with some respect for the beaver: "It is more likely than any other rodent to adapt to changed circumstances and learn to take advantage of them, and more than he ponders any of his relatives before he acts, he deduces and draws conclusions. "
From the bridge the castle can still be seen fairly well, now it's time to wait. Anyone who occasionally observes rare animals is used to looking out for hours and spending whole nights pointlessly in which everything comes that crawls and flees, except the cattle that you want to see. But it's different here. After just a few minutes, the surface of the water ripples and this creature appears, cutting through the water as if powered by an electric motor. The animal drifts towards the bank, where, half lying in the water, it nibbles on willow branches that a beaver friend has put there. Hansel doesn’t really like such supplementary feedings, he thinks that beavers drive best when they feed themselves independently of humans.
A second beaver joins them, together they grate the branches, mutually side by side like two rabbits in a rabbit shed. It is a paradisiacal scene whose bucolic nature is heightened when you consider that it is about two seasoned lumberjacks. This is the one, the refreshing side of beaver life.
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