Beaver spotted ambling around Welsh garden in broad daylight

They tend to confine their activities to the dusk or night-time but the first beaver to appear in the wild in Wales for centuries has been spotted ambling about in broad daylight.

The animal has been observed “wombling” around the garden in Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales, where it was first seen at the end of last year.

Named Antony, after the military historian Antony Beevor, the creature was discovered by a husband and wife who were puzzled by trees vanishing from their garden or showing damage that looked as if it had been caused by a machete.

They set up cameras that identified the vandal as what is believed to be Wales’s first wild beaver since the rodent was hunted to extinction.

The landowners, who wish to remain anonymous to protect their new neighbour, have released footage of the beaver happily going about its business in the daytime.

They said: “Antony has been living on our doorstep for seven months now, so it was wonderful to see him in the daylight for the first time wombling over the lawn. It’s really magical seeing an animal you usually associate with the Canadian wilderness in a Pembrokeshire garden.

“By placing cameras around the garden we managed to build up a good picture of his nightly routine. Through spring he was extremely active leaving every night at 10pm via a stream and returning at 4am. We had no idea where or why he was going. Maybe he was lonely and going in search of a mate.”

The couple have also been monitoring his feeding habits. “Antony used to chomp willow, ash, and his favourite was oak saplings. But since the sun came out and the water lilies and hogweed took off, he’s been eating that. He must be like a kid in a candy shop surrounded by all this food.

“What’s really amazing is how quickly the trees Antony felled in winter have regenerated. The willow, for example, has several 5ft shoots already. Antony’s logging has effectively coppiced it.”

The couple nearly came face to face with Antony when they were walking their dogs. They said: “The dogs were sniffing a bramble bush beside the pond when we heard this loud slap. It was Antony beating his tail on the water.

“He’s not a graceful operator on land, but in the water he was remarkable. It took just a few beats of his tail to get to the other side of the pond. The bow wave was enormous.”