ANIMALS Coypus have been bred for their fur in many countries well outside of South America, their native region. They were first kept in the United States for this purpose in 1899. Unfortunately, over the years, beautiful
Their scientific name means “ river rat”. — JakubD/Shutterstock
The nutria's burrowing and feeding habits can cause serious damage to the nutria. the environment. In the wild, coypu live in areas near permanent bodies of water, with their range extending to brackish areas near the coast. There they build their vast burrows, digging tunnels in dikes and river banks. When weakened by this activity, these structures can collapse, leading to flooding. Coypu also have a big appetite, eating up to 100%. a quarter of their body weight each day, which means that an individual can consume 2.5 kg of plant matter daily. They dig into the ground using their strong claws to pull out plant roots, and they can strip entire areas of damp soil of vegetation.
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As with many rodents, the nutria's reproduction rate is high. It can breed throughout the year in areas where conditions are favorable, and the female can reproduce immediately after giving birth. Young coypu can also reproduce from the age of 3 months. The only natural control over their reproduction rate, put at risk apart from the harsh winters, is that’à Like other members of the infraorder Caviomorpha, most of which are found in South America, coypus have a relatively long gestation. Nevertheless, females have adapted to raise their offspring in all conditions, with their udders located relatively high on the sides of their bodies, allowing the young coypu to suck even when they are hidden in water.
A female coypu with five of her young. – Wandering views/Shutterstock
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Despite their capacity adaptation, coypus struggle to survive harsh winters. They can often suffer fatal frostbite on their tails and the climate can serve as a barrier to this. the colonization of new areas. However, global warming may allow coypu to spread and establish themselves in territories further north.
A coypu in the heart of winter. – LevinaPhoto/Shutterstock
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