Invasive Species Alert | What To Do If You Spot a Coypu?

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.

Invasive Species Alert Coypu

Intercity Critter Coypu possibly spotted on Dublin’s Royal canal this year, previously seen in Cork in 2017, raising concerns of further spread

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.

Coypu on the loose? Possible sighting on Dublin’s Royal Canal

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.

Coypu distinctive feature Large bright orange-yellow front teeth which are usually visible.

What to do with the Coypu?

Waterways Ireland has issued the following unequivocal request:


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 or your local National Parks and Wildlife ranger with details of location/date; a photo if available or or
• Visit or

About the Author

Daniel Farrell
Interested in all things on the Irish coast and sharing the best of it. // Email: // Follow on Twitter: @DanielsSeaViews