We fight for the Ragondins! (coypu’s)

So apparently this dear little “Coypu” is a problem in France.  They’re not supposed to be here, were brought in by some arbitrary person and they breed like rabbits (what else does a coypu do in the cold winters…) and eat like horses…(well you pretty much need a lot of energy to breed like rabbits so that stands to reason.)

A while ago, I was walking near the lake and I saw this white swimming thing go past me at a rate of knots.  I turned to discover it was Tass!  She had seen a baby coypu and decided to leap into the frigid water to investigate.  No amount of calling helped and I certainly wasn’t going to leap in after her.  Eventually the poor little coypu got tired and whimpering softly it turned and headed for the shore where it swam strait into the husbands hands and curled up for warmth snuffling like a baby.  Since then, they maybe a problem but they are a really cute problem and seeing we live out in the sticks, they are a problem worth watching and oohing and aahing over, even though they grow up to be the size of Ted  with along rat like tail, webbed back feet and a bushy stiff white bristly mustache.

A week or so ago, we were busy gardening and we saw a car pull up near the river bank.  Cars are unheard of round here so the Dear One went to  investigate.  He came back about ten minutes later having worked out that the elderly french guy was laying traps to catch the ragondins.  Sure enough, when we took the dogs for a walk, there were two huge cages baited with corn.  Not the kind of traps that kill, just to catch but I feel pretty sure that they were’t going to be released anywhere but rather sent to the Coypu patch in the sky.  My brave husband climbed down the bank, waded through the mud and sprang the traps.

The French dude must have come back later on in the evening to check on them and reset them because early next morning, there was a coypu in each trap.  Now they LOOK really cute but to be honest, they are angry, spitting, hissing things that think nothing of “biting the hand that frees you”.  Even though the husband grabbed the trap and shook it, these little fellows clung on like heck to the cage.  As time was of the essence (he wasn’t sure when the french guy would be back) he shook really hard and out they fell only to take a few steps, turn round and launch themselves at him throwing a hissy fit at the same time!  No sooner had the traps been placed back in position and my Hero was back in the kitchen,  we heard the car pull up again.  The elderly gentleman stumbled up the bank scratching his head and looking puzzled.  He drove off, we sprang the traps and relived a “ground hog day” procedure the next morning as well..this time with two smaller but just as fiesty coypu’s.

The Beloved had an epiphany.  He would just take the bait out and leave the traps set.  Logic has it that a coypu wouldn’t walk in to an empty trap but from the road, the French Gent might not be able to see that the bait was missing.  He’s been back every morning and every evening for the past three days to check the empty traps.  He hasn’t realised the bait is missing, but he eagerly checks his useless traps regardless.  We watch and snigger like kids from the kitchen window.

From the bedroom window we can survey the ever greening forest, the tranquil lake and the peaceful paddock.  Two days ago we watched a giant hare come out of the forest and hop through the paddock eating fresh dandelions.  When I mean giant, I mean GIANT!  About the same height as a Staffie dog with ears of about 25-30 cm long.

Then this morning, we saw a reddish bambi shyly emerge and also wander into the paddock to browse on leaves and roots.  All of a sudden it perked up, flicked it’s tail and did some sort of  “strictly come dancing” act around the paddock, twisting and turning, leaping and bouncing to it’s little hearts content.  Such a joy to watch.

So to end, I thought I would put up some pics of the flowers.  Most of these photo’s are off the net because I felt it would be a bit of a cheek if I climbed over someones wall, however small, in order to take pictures of their flowers.  But enjoy then with me, I’ve never seen some of these before and the colours of the countryside at the moment are breath taking.

To all of you who write comments on the blog, I answer as often as I can so revisit your comment if you feel like it, but if I don’t and I forget, I’m so sorry..I LOVE having you comment and I’m eternally grateful that you’re walking the “Footpath to France” with me.

A la Prochaine


About M

I am at heart and artist...which spills over into other areas apart from the pastels, pencils, paintbrush and paper. I love cooking, I love gardening and I love nature. Leaving South Africa to come to France was difficult, but an adventurous challenge and together with my husband and two furry friends, I manage to do all that I love and more while I walk the 'Footpath to France'.
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10 Responses to We fight for the Ragondins! (coypu’s)

  1. Loraine Hardwick says:

    Ha ha I think I know the French Dude…..would love to “rat” on you guys!!!! Thanks for the entertainment, can just imagine it!


  2. Miss you stacks….love and lots of hugs xxxx

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Lynne says:

    Keep up the coypu work, makes a change from reading about saving rhino and baboons! Harley is proud of you!


  4. valerie dunne says:

    Proud of you for protecting small. (Not helpless ) fingies. Really never heard of such things. The flowers are breath taking. Love you dearly. !


  5. Gitta says:

    Aaa those pics are beautiful!.. and i like what you both are doing to help the coypu’s.. think thats just great!./ love you Both LOts and Lots xoxox


  6. tony says:

    Most interesting lesson in biology…did you know that these rodents were introduced to UK in 1929 for their fur? But according to the UK Dept for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs they were finally eradicated from East Anglia in 1989. I wouldn’t be surprised if the poms sent them across the channel to Brittany where Mark is now intent on preserving them. Someone has suggested that they are sought by French gourmets for their delicate flavour much akin to the Natal cane rat which is viewed as a delicacy on the Natal North Coast.
    Wendy and i miss you both…love from the two of us.


  7. Frances says:

    Hi Moraiq

    Jen said I must tell you that she still misses you terribly. She misses the hugs and the way you expressed yourself when you shared a joke. Cape Town is not the same without you. Shame I can see the sadness in her face. Love to both of you. From Maggie Jen.


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