A beaver has been spotted in Italy for the first time in 500 years.



Reinhard Pipperger suspected that the animal could be present after he noticed that small trees had been felled in the Dolomites before definitive confirmation came as the beaver was photographed.

The last record of the rodent being present in Italy dates back to 1542.

Pipperger told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: "At first I thought someone had chopped them down with an axe. But then I looked more closely and saw the teeth marks.

"They were cut recently - I would estimate the beaver has been in the area for a couple of months."

It seems if there is only a single beaver in the country but Pipperger suggests the population could rise.

He said: "We will have to see if a female turns up. Then they might establish a breeding population."