Cookies on The Southern Star website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the The Southern Star website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
How does The Southern Star use cookies?
Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
We dont sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
Hide Message
  • News

‘Giant rat-like’ coypu spotted in West Cork village

Monday, 22nd May, 2017 10:30am
‘Giant rat-like’ coypu spotted in West Cork village

A coypu photographed in the River Lee on May 8th. (Photo: Luke Lambert)

By Kieran O’Mahony


GIANT rodents called coypu, also known as ‘river rats’, have been spotted in West Cork.

Sightings of the coypu – up to 1m long with incisor teeth – have been reported in the Halfway area, according to Danny O’Keeffe, local ranger with the Parks & Wildlife Service.

‘I spoke to someone who saw two of them there recently, but with any report we need to get confirmation and set up monitoring stations to observe them,’ Danny told The Southern Star, referring to the village on the Cork to Bandon road.

‘It’s absolutely possible that they could spread further west as there’s no doubt rivers are their highways. Last year we received four reports of sightings and we ended up catching 10 of them within a core area off the Curraheen River in Cork city,’ he said.

The South American rodent, which can weigh 5-9kg and be up to 1m long, is on an EU list of 37 invasive species that were introduced to Europe. 

The female can produce two litters in one year with the juveniles sexually maturing after only three months.

‘The priority is to get surveillance systems set up and stop them from spreading as they create huge damage on riverbanks,’ said Danny. 

‘Ideally the objective is to completely eradicate them. We also have to sit down with other agencies to work together to tackle the problem.’

If you see a coypu then email or call/text him on 087-2472264.

Stay up-to-date with the latest West Cork news with a Southern Star digital subscription on your phone, tablet or computer. Click here for more.