Behold, the mighty beaver.
Credit: Stuart Franklin

Pity the poor Canadian beaver

Not only have his testicles become a political insult, but now a Canadian senator is campaigning to have the beaver replaced as the country's national emblem, in favor of the polar bear.

Nicole Eaton, a Canadian senator and Conservative party member, described the beaver as a "dentally defective rat."

But the harsh words may be more personal than political: Eaton also noted that beavers chomp on the wooden dock at her lakefront cottage every summer, Reuters says.

Beavers are also known to chew through trees lining waterfront property as they search for dam-building material.

"A country's symbols are not constant and can change over time," Eaton said, in defence of her plan to ditch the beaver.

"The polar bear, with its strength, courage, resourcefulness and dignity is perfect for the part."

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The beaver, Canada's national animal since 1975, became famous in the 1700s when its pelt was used to make fur hats, the height of fashion in Europe. Beavers were trapped by Canada's First Nations people, and then their pelts cleaned and traded to fur trade companies.

The word beaver has since taken on racier connotations.

Last year, The Beaver, Canada's second-oldest magazine, renamed itself Canada's History because of frequent mix-ups, with The Beaver being mistaken for porn, and its website and emails blocked by spam filters.

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