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ragondins


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[quote]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...[/quote]

Although I am no expert I would suggest that this might not be such a good idea. Apart for all the questions about the daughter keeping them in suitable environments, feeding correctly, etc. (which I cannot comment on as I have no knowledge of the daughter, etc.), Ragondins can carry Leptospirosis which humans can catch is not good.

I’m my experience you do occasionally get an “obstinate” one who is quite untroubled by people, dogs, etc. and will just sit there. Most run away but I’ve met only one who did not bother about me or my dogs and just sat there quite calmly.

Ian

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That's very interesting about keeping them as pets, which shows they are not always as nasty as all that.  Do your neighbours still have them, it would be wonderful to have a photo.  Apparently they were originally introduced for their fur and for clearing the lakes and it was not until 1988 that they became "nuisible".  I can't find a site on it, but Eric Bruneteau has made a park for them at Dolus d'Oleron where people go to see them and have their picture taken with them on their knees.  It is mentioned here :

http://www.chasse.sud.fr/site/imprimer3.php?type=1&id=8

Here's a site for you Chris, if you don't already know it, there is everything, birds, bats, ragondins :

http://www.u-blog.net/nosamislesbetes/2005/10/08

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Thanks for the blog link Christine, I didn't already have it, so another one for the "library".

Let me try and be a little clearer. There is nothing wrong with ragondin as a creature, all creatures and all species are equal in my eyes, they are one more part of Great Nature, the problem here in France is that they are in the wrong place. Very simply this is not their correct habitat. Removing them will not disrupt the system, there is nothing that depends upon them for survival, no serious predators and no prey as they are vegetarian but they really do cause major habitat destruction which directly impacts on other species and more besides. They damage bankside vegetation, not only by digging holes but also by eating the rushes and sedges and also destroying their root structures, these regulate water flow from the surrounding land and also act as secondary water purifiers taking out excess nutrients whether these be from natural sources (cattle) or artificial sources (fertilisers), water quality is extremely important for aquatic species. These same rushes and sedges also provide important habitats which certain species are totally dependant upon, Corn Crake and  Sedge Warblers being good examples. Ragondin also destroy the aquatic plant life which in the case of rivers changes the flow which can be very disruptive and in both rivers and lakes they remove important plants which, again, certain species are totally dependant upon, The European Pond Turtle is a good example. I understand only too well the difficulties involved in all interference but in this instance the balance is tipped so far against the presence of ragindin that their numbers must be at the very least be severely controlled.  It may well be that they were not classified as nuisible or vermin until 1988 but it would be fair to say that little really started to be understood until about that time in general regarding wildlife and habitat loss in France.(I say France because that is where we are). I could go on (but I won't)

Best wishes,  Chris

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