Waterways Ireland has issued an invasive species alert for the Coypu, a large rodent species which may have been spotted on Royal Canal near Ashtown, Dublin.
Their advice if you spot one is clear; don’t try to approach and get in touch with Waterways Ireland.
What is a Coypu?
A Coypu is a large semi-aquatic rodent, a native of South America and it’s believed they escaped into the wild in Ireland, having initially been brought over as a pet.
The Coypu impact on wildlife, river and canal bank stability and is a pest of agriculture crops. They can also carry a number of diseases of importance to humans and domestic animals.
What does a Coypu look like?
Coypu can measure up to 1 metre in head to tail length, has webbed hind feet and can weigh between 5-9 kg. It has dark fur often with lighter ends and has a white muzzle, a long cylindrical tail (not fur tail like otter) and small slightly protruding ears.
Its distinctive features are large bright orange-yellow incisor (front) teeth usually visible. Coypu are generally found near permanent water.
What to do with the Coypu?
Waterways Ireland has issued the following unequivocal request:
“PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ENGAGE, TRAP OR HARM THESE ANIMALS”
Please keep a look out for these creatures along the waterways and especially along the Royal Canal at Ashtown and report sightings with photographs to any of the following below:
• Phone Waterways Ireland Environment Section at 061-922141
• Email NPWS at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local National Parks and Wildlife ranger with details of location/date; a photo if available or email@example.com or
• Visit http://records.biodiversityireland.ie or http://species.biodiversityireland.ie