jillpgosden's picture

Italian aquatic mammal

Observed: 17th September 2012 By: jillpgosden
Italian aquatic mammal
Description:

My son asked me what this is - he says "Looks like small beaver living in stream, has lots of little toes but no beaver-like teeth. Were two of them. About the size of a terrier dog - not a marmot but seems very big to be a water vole"

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

steve_t's picture

A fact sheet on coypu in

A fact sheet on coypu in Europe is available from DAISIE via this link, http://www.europe-aliens.org/speciesFactsheet.do?speciesId=52881

Gill Sinclair's picture

Useful website

That's a very useful website - have bookmarked it.

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
www.gillsinclair.net
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

the naturalist man's picture

Coypu

There are two superficially similar animals the coypu and introduced muskrat, however there are no muskrats in Italy so must be a coypu. Also the arched back, and eyes, nose and ears being parallel and positioned high on the muzzle indicate coypu.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411

Gill Sinclair's picture

Coypu vs muskrat

Hi Graham - I couldn't distinguish between muskrat and coypu from the photo and was a bit confused because although my 'Mammals of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East' doesn't include Italy in the muskrat's range, the IUCN Red List page http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/15324/0 said it has been introduced there (coypus are introduced in Europe too of course).

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
www.gillsinclair.net
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

the naturalist man's picture

Italian muskrat

You are right I have found lots of references on the internet that show muskrats are in Italy, and in the Florence area, but none of my books on European mammals have muskrats in Italy. I've always thought of them as a more northern species in Europe.

As for description, think of a muskrat as looking like a large vole with a stumpy face and a definite, though small, muzzle. Coypu are more like a small capybara with a sloping head/muzzle similar to the forehead of a grey seal; in fact the difference is similar to that of grey and common seals. Of course the tail would seal it, muskrats have a flattened tail and coypu have a round, scaly tail like a large rat's tail.

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
http://www.ispot.org.uk/forum/8411