Saturday, January 12, 2008

Coypu in Florence, Italy

Listening to Super Massive Black Hole by Muse

Last year in Florence in the river near our hotel we saw what at first we thought were otters, water rats, and from initial research muskrats.

After hopping on the internet again (edited 18/01/08) I discovered they are most likely to be coypu*. The muskrat** is a very similar species. The coypu is a bigger animal with a pendulous, heavy body and a head shape more reminiscent of a capybara*** in its bluntness. It has a sleeker coat that is more reddish brown than grey. Having looked at lots of pictures of both I've decided we must have seen coypu. Both species were introduced for the fur trade.

Apparently they are also good eatin' going by some of the sites I've looked at.

Anyhooo, I found them interesting to watch as I tend to do with anything small and furry - or just new, special to me (last night I watched an orb weaving spider building its nightly web off our back verandah). Here are some sketches I did at the time (done from memory, they look more like muskrats, meh).

 photo Coypu_zpsce26a10d.jpg

 photo coypuTOP_zpsc749ceca.jpg

Coypu, Florence (drawings enlarged)
March 2007

Did you know...
...that the crested porcupine was introduced to Italy? Neither did I. Source: Wikipedia.

* Native to South America and called a nutria in America.
** Native to North America.
*** World's largest rodent, semi aquatic and also from South America.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We too saw this creature in Florence. Not knowing we were guessing it maybe an otter but with research we came to the same conclusion that it may have been a coypu.