Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Critters

This persistent rain is really depressing.  It's the first of June and we are sitting in front of the log burner.

Paul and I ventured outside earlier and walked, or squelched, down the hill to the small lake.  The ground was very soggy underfoot.  All was quiet at the lake, the wild ducks had flown off as we approached and there were just a few water boatmen paddling around on the surface of the water. Suddenly there was a loud splosh!  Something had just dived into the water and was swimming across the lake.  We could just see a nose and a long tail.

"It's a rat!"
"No, too big for a rat."
"Beaver?"
"Don't think so."
"Otter?"
"Too small for an otter."
"Muskrat."
"You mean a meerkat."
"No, a muskrat."
"What's a muskrat?"
 

Strange critter in the water

Coypu
It was too far away to get a clear shot with the camera but the creature was actually a Coypu, a large semi aquatic rodent that is originally native to South America but was introduced to Europe in the last century as a result of the fur trade. Some escaped from fur farms and others were released into the wild when the fur trade declined. It is quite common in France and is present in many lakes and waterways. Unfortunately for the Coypu it is responsible for much damage to river banks and is considered a pest; traps are often set to catch them.

Further on we came to the frog pond. Mostly all you can see are pairs of eyes peering out through the green slime. These guys are so loud when they start singing. 

European Common Frog

Lizard
Monsieur Lezard made a brief appearance when we got home.  He is desperate for some more sunshine.
 
Field Mouse

Is this the mouse responsible for eating my sun umbrella?

9 comments:

  1. Coypus, oh no. They were eradicated from the UK in the 1960s. I had no idea they were any around still.

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    1. I had never come across them in the UK. Plenty round this area of France though.

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    2. We had them on our farm. We had traps, the lot. They were a big pest, nightmare in East Anglia.

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    3. You wont come across them anymore, they're gone, thank goodness.

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    4. I see that East Anglia was where they were first introduced in the UK. I bet they loved all those Fenland ditches when they escaped.

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  2. Needless to say our French friends eat the things as a paté. Ragondins. I suspect that there are a few more about in the ditches with all this rain.

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    1. Oh my goodness - I wouldn't have recognised that on a menu - paté de ragondins!

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  3. Potty has stolen my comment. A few years back one walked past our house. I ran inside to fetch my camera and followed him down the field. I managed a few photos, but he was very quick. They have very large yellow front teeth!

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  4. A restaurant in my local town put coypu on the menu. It was said to taste like rabbit.

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