Coypu may look sweet but they’re officially a pest in France
The bankside of our idyllic lake (one of the reasons we bought our French property) is being undermined by ragondin; the water-lilies planted by us are having their underwater roots chewed and obviously die as a result. Usually very much of a ‘live and let live’ persuasion, my husband is becoming extremely frustrated by the problem and would do anything to be rid of them (and I mean anything). Name withheld by request
Coypu ( Ragondin – Myocaster coypus) were, so Bob Gibbons says in his book Wild France: The Animals, Plants and Landscapes (New Holland, 2009), ‘introduced’ to France many years ago and have since become an ‘invasive species’.
I know from personal experience just what effect they can have on waterside vegetation. I’ve also read reports over the years of how much damage they can do to farmland crops bordering a waterway. There has been at least one fatality when a farm worker, driving a tractor, drowned while tilling a field after his machine tipped over into the river due to coypu-created bank-side subsidence.
They are officially, a ‘pest’. My advice (assuming you don’t already know the president of your local commune’s shooting group) is to visit the mairie and find out their contact details. They will almost certainly take action and designate someone to come along with suitable, legally approved ‘catch-them-alive’ cage traps – and will, in the event of successful catches, dispatch them humanely.
Ragondin ravagers of the riverbank