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ragondins


Patf
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Since we came to our place - 3 and a half years ago - we have watched the ragondin in the lake. Quite a shy creature and apparently celibate. But this summer we were proved wrong - there's a Mme. Ragondin and now at least 2 young ones. Up to now there seems to be only one bankside hole, and we're hoping they don't increase. Does anyone know how quickly they multiply? Pat.
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They can multiply quite rapidly and it may be as well to deal with the situation. Ragondin should be trapped in a "proper trap" and humanly shot, there is no other satisfactory method. They are an introduced species and cause serious problems for native species. Your local Marie will suggest poison, this is a really bad idea - please on no account use poisons as these cause problems for non target species and build up in the food matrix.

You can contact Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage.  The link is to the main site but you should have a Departmental Office who should be able to advise.

http://www.oncfs.gouv.fr/

Tricky I know, I like life!  Best Chris.

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I think that in many areas poisoning Rangondin is now prohibited. Certainly round me a couple of years ago it was allowed (and done by the commune) but is now illegal.

If you contact your local President of the Chasse and ask him. I did that (contacting the President of the Chasse via the Marie) and he sent round a Piegeur Agree who set traps and came back every morning to kill the occupants. It was a free service run by the local hunt. I actually never realise I had so many as I stopped counting after 30 has been despatched.

The caught (and killed) animals were then put in a freezer in the commune kept for the purpose somewhere and collected for disposal periodically. The Piegeur cut off the tails as he got paid for each one killed.

They are definitely worth getting rid of as they can be a danger to pets. Dogs tend to be inquisitive and have been attacked by them (Rangondins that is, not Piegeurs). They have big teeth (Rangondins that is, not Piegeurs). Whilst they are normally shy, every now and again they might just sit in the open. I once found one about 10 feet from the river and it just sat there whilst my dogs sniffed it (me desperately trying to get it back in the water and the dogs away). They also carry Leptispirosis (not a good disease to catch).

They also make massive tunnels in the lake/river banks which can then collapse when you walk on them. This tends to fill in lakes and erode away river banks.

Ian

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"Dogs tend to be inquisitive and have been attacked by them (Rangondins that is, not Piegeurs)."

"I once found one about 10 feet from the river and it just sat there whilst my dogs sniffed it (me desperately trying to get it back in the water and the dogs away)."

I don't want to get into a "ragondin defence" argument, but, Ian, don't you seem to be contradicting yourself?

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[quote]"Dogs tend to be inquisitive and have been attacked by them (Rangondins that is, not Piegeurs)." "I once found one about 10 feet from the river and it just sat there whilst my dogs sniffed it (me d...[/quote]

Christine, the two statements are quite separate. What I meant is that I have been told that dogs can be attacked by Rangodins. One person has told me about how most of their dog’s ear was ripped off by an adult Rangodin. The 2nd statement was an incident (my own experience) where a Rangodin was not shy and timid but just sat there. I tried to stop the interaction between my dogs and the Rangodin a.s.a.p. but the dogs were very inquisitive and the Rangodin in no hurry to move on. Fortunately the Rangodin must not have felt threatened and there was no trouble. 2nd statement was a comment on the earlier statement about it being a shy creature, which most of mine are except on occasions.

Hope this clears up any mis-understandings.

Ian

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[quote]Are these the same as coypu's? Don't they get eaten in South America? Perhaps some-one should tell the French, it would make a change from snails, frogs legs and little birdies[/quote]

I believe they are. There used to be quite a few recipes for things like Rangodin sausages on the internet, but these days many seem to have disappeared. Did find one for Rangodin salad a few months back.

Cooking is not one of my skills, and even if it were I would be a bit put of by what I was told about them often/sometimes carrying Leptosiposis.

Ian

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That was a great find Hoddy.  So it looks as if there is a future for the poor old Ragondin, he is worth something after all, every bit can be used.  I am ordering the Toque Davy Crockett for Ian  

They also have some beautiful jewellery and they certainly have the teeth for it (here are Marc Carrière's) :

http://www.les-snats.com/fiches/P00639.html

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Christine (continuing for the thread I hijacked to be about Rangonding), that’s the one, though must admit that one in the picture has cleaner brighter and more orange teeth than mine (or rather my Rangondin’s skull’s teeth). Probably put all those around here to shame.

As a slight aside, you may be surprised but they can often be heard calling (or I reckon laughing at you). I used to hear them late afternoon during the first part of the summer. You can hear the call on http://www.univers-nature.com/sons/son-ragondin.html and it is surprisingly loud in the wild.

Ian

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Chris pp, (from the other thread http://forums.livingfrance.com/shwmessage.aspx?ForumID=344&MessageID=243771&TopicPage=1 which I rudely hijacked to be about rangondins)

Aware its not actually a capybara but this one is bigger than a fully grown adult - massive monster. seen it a couple of evenings just lazily swimming up the river to the mill pond. Reckon I found its route out of the river a few days ago as I was walking down the river. Apparently they tend to establish fairly set paths they use to get into and out-of the river/pond. Even along a bank where they could enter or leave anywhere they still tend to use a particular point and establish a “path” or “track” you can often see quite clearly. This is how they are then caught in traps without bait (at least that is what the Piegeur did to reduce the population round me). Often around the path out of the river you can see where the top of grass has been eaten off.

Whilst the piegeur was doing his trapping I used to go out with him most days and it was very interesting.

I will have to get him back soon as I found a family of 4 living within10m of the far end of the house. When I take the dogs out I now often see at least 4 charge back into the river and hide under the bridge there (all youngsters). Trouble is that that close to the house I believe their burrows can extend close on that distance.

Ian

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Sorry Ian, I think the posting situation got a bit mixed up. My personal view is that they need to be controlled "big time" and in a manner which is as stress free and humane for the coypu as possible. I know it's not exactly their fault but they destroy the aquatic environment in a way which is extremely damaging for other species.

Cheers, Chris

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Chris, I agree absolutely. I’m normally all for leaving the wildlife alone to live in peace and certainly killing not it (though hope I have a balance in how far I take this to accommodate the reasonable needs for human activity as well). However, living in a mill (and thus a river valley) with river banks all around I can see 1st hand the amount of damage they do. Thus I was glad when I got a licensed Piegeur Agree to do the trapping as I could be confidant it was all humane, etc. The population has really “exploded” round here (72). Walked into one field by the river bank the other day and at first though I must have stepped on a small log that moved in the long grass but logs don’t run off, jump in the river and swim off. Fortunately I did not put my foot down particularly hard so am sure I did not injure it (but I did have just light canvass shoes on so was glad it ran off).

This autumn they are starting a major control exercise on the (Le) Loir with around 400 traps between Durtal and Chapelle-aux-Choux

Its actually a pity as they are really quite cute things.

(It was me that side tracked the other thread about bugs).

Ian

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e.g. http://www.passionbassin.com/idee7.htm (they are quite large)

They are like a tunnel (i.e. open at both ends) with a plate in the middle which when trodden on causes the doors at both ends to close. The trap does not kill the animal and thus traps need to be checked very regularly. Ragondin’s tend to enter and leave the water at the same place and form small tracks. You can walk along a river/lake bank and see these tracks. Put the trap close to the water’s edge so that when the Ragondin leaves the water along its track it goes through the trap and gets caught. Works best in longer grass/growth where the tracks are easier to spot and it is harder of the beast to walk round the trap. Does not involve bait, it is the trap location that causes the animal to enter.

However, catching the animal is only one aspect. They then need to be humanely killed (as I guess most people would not want them relocated).

I would suspect that the 2nd part (the killing of them) might only be allowed by licensed trappers. No idea about the regulations but would seem likely. Also remember that these animals carry diseases that can be deadly.

I only know the above from spending time with my local licensed trapper (Piegeur Agree) when he was reducing the population on my land. I was just a spectator. My local chasse provides this as a free service (i.e. trapping and getting rid of pest animals) so I would suggest contacting your local chasse as they might do it for you. Also, it may be that the Piegeur can be paid for each Ragondin caught as they are round me as they are considered a real pest, but I doubt this would apply to a non-licensed Piegeur. When caught by the Piegeurs, the dead animals are stored in a local freezer and then periodically collected for safe disposal. Also, the Piegeur would be able to advice you re: risks to ducks and geese.

What I have described is what happened in my case and is my personal experience. It may be that there are other or better ways.

Hope this helps

Ian

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Spot on Ian, it is as far as I know the best and safest form of trapping. If a non target species is "held prisoner" in the trap it can be released unharmed. The captive creature suffers the minimum amount of stress that is possible and can ( if it is the target species ) be killed swiftly and humanely. All other methods have serious flaws, poisons and underwater traps often kill or cause serious harm to other creatures. The only concern is that the trap must be visited at regular intervals. The same trap is used for other species, such as fouine (stone marten) although generally this is not something I would support.

Chris.

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Hi,    Many people have a problem with killing creatures and certainly in my opinion no one should ever take pleasure from it. From a nature management perspective there are times when this process has to be carried out if native biodiversity is to be maintained.  Would it be better if Ragondin could be sterilised out of existence in Europe? I suppose that it would be, trapping and killing will never remove them completely.  I somehow doubt however that it is possible without a lot of research into finding a way to target this "sterilisation" in a way which would only affect ragondin and not have harmful consequences for other species.  At the present it seems that trapping and killing is the best we have to contain their numbers.   It perhaps should be a cautionary reminder that importing non native species is not a clever thing to do. In recent years the Asiatic ladybird has been introduced both into the UK and Belgium as a form of biological pest control, it is a much larger and stronger variety than our native species and is already spreading out of control, ( moving rapidly through northern France ). There is increasing evidence that it is detrimental to our native species and this could end up with their ultimate demise and so it goes on, creating problems for tomorrow.

Best wishes, Chris

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A ragodin appeared outside our house one evening in May whilst we sat outside enjoying le vin. Despite our efforts to scare it away it wouldnt budge, in fact it followed my wife around the hamlet.

We told our neighbours and next day they arrived with a cat box and put it in, the husband just gave it a carrot, picked it up and put it in the cat box. The daughter keeps it as a pet she already has one ragodin together with a pet raven.

 

 

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[quote]Hi, Many people have a problem with killing creatures and certainly in my opinion no one should ever take pleasure from it. From a nature management perspective there are times when this process ha...[/quote]

On a related “interfering with nature” subject http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1598060,00.html (about the problems caused by interference on Lundy Island.

Ian

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