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Is it possible I saw a beaver last week in the Vendée?

A lot of the marais waterways are dried up now because of the drought and he was working away in one of the dried up beds.   Brown with lots of fur and the right size.

Was it?   Are there many beavers about?

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It does sound likely that it is a coypu (ragondin in French) which are very common in France. Unlike the beaver they have a rat-like tail and their teeth are yellowy. They are vegetarian but unpopular with farmers for grazing and burrowing along the banks.
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There was a reintroduction of the European beaver back in the 80's in the Loire and since that time it has been spreading its range quite successfully. It is present in the Vendee.    Evidence of its presence is often found without actual sightings being made especially pieces of wood chewed in a characteristic manner, but as already been said it could have been a coypu - no shortage of them as we all know only too well! Muskrat is another possibility although a fair bit smaller.

Best, Chris

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