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).
Coypu, Florence (drawings enlarged)
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.