Friday, 27 August 2010

Coypu

Posted by Rosie

I saw one of these a couple of nights ago; a coypu (ragodin in French):

We had been round to friends for a BBQ and were cycling back in the dark and with no lights, when I heard a lot of rustling in the field edge. It was much too noisy to be a cat or a fox and I did briefly wonder if the one of neighbour's calves had got out or worse still a wild boar. However, I could see nothing (it was a very moonlit night) until all of a sudden this creature dashed out of the undergrowth in front of me and galloped across the field towards the stream. It was about 45cm long, stocky in build and exceedingly heavy footed - I could acually feel the ground trembling under it's footsteps.

There are a lot around here. Other friends who live in a water mill nearby have had to have a coypu catcher in to try and eradicate them as they cause a huge problem with river bank erosion when they build their burrows. They are native to South America and were introduced into Europe by fur farmers. As with so many introduced species, some escaped and without natural predators their numbers rose rapidly. Wikipedia gives more information but does contain an error in the distribution maps. They say that they were eradicated in the UK in 1929 but there are still sightings now of coypu in Norfolk.

Simon and the boys were a bit behind me and didn't see it - I'd like them to be able to say that they have seen a coypu but I would equally be happy if there were none of these non-native, destructive creatures around here. Somehow I doubt that will ever be the case.

2 comments :

  1. Are you sure it wasn't an overfed guinea pig? Interesting spot!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Could have been a wild boar. Plenty around, although I have just seen a Coypu feeding at dusk in the river Tete.

    ReplyDelete

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