Saturday, 30 April 2011
Living here in France there are a number of wild animals here that we just don't see in the UK. Birds such as hoopoe, hawks and cranes and mamals such as wild boar and coypu as well as many reptiles and lizards. We have seen a lot of them in the garden and most are welcome!
However, recently we have found that the lake is being trashed by an animal and all of the plant life is systematically being eaten which in turn will cause a problem for the fish.
Therefore, I took it upon myself to speak to one of the local farmers to try and find out what was causing the problem. I was told a ragondin (coypu) was likely to be the issue and that he would come and set a humane trap to see what we could catch.
He arrived with a rather large cage of about 1m in length and baited it with apple and maize. After a few days we noticed the trap had gone off and the bait gone, on looking inside we discovered we had caught a moorhen! We let the poor stressed duck go and reset the trap once more.
After two further days, bingo we had our beast! yep a ragondin. We all went to take a closer look at the animal and found that it was much larger than we had expected. It was the size of a very large cat or small round dog. It had the most hiddious teeth, webbed back feet and a rat like tail. In addition (probably due to it being stressed) it made a horrible hissing noise followed by a deep growl! We promptly called the farmer who came to take it away and now the vegitation around the lake is growing back and happy fish once more.
I have not asked the fate of the beast, but like to think the farmer released it back into the River Garonne a few miles away!