Coypu may look sweet but they’re of­fi­cially a pest in France

French Property News - - News -

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

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