Description Of The Coypu ( Myocastor Coypus )

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INTRODUCTION: The Coypu (Myocastor coypus) is a large, robust, semi-aquatic rat like rodent and a casual observer may misidentify a Coypu as a beaver or a muskrat, especially when it is swimming. However, this superficial resemblance ends when a more detailed study of the animal is made (LeBlanc. 2005). The average size of the head and body is 52cm with the length of the tail being an additional 37cm. The body is highly arched with a large almost triangular head. The Incisors are large with an orange pigmented surface. The Coypu’s pelage contains two types of fur; soft dense under-fur and long coarse guard hairs, varying in colour from yellowish-brown to reddish-brown. The under-fur is dark grey and is thicker on the abdomen (Gosling. 1981). The legs are short, with the hind feet being significantly longer than the forefeet, and possess five digits; the first four are connected by webbing and the fifth is free. The forefeet have four long, flexible digits with no webbing and a vestigial thumb. Because of their dexterous forepaws, coypu can excavate soil to construct sometimes complex burrow systems within riparian areas and handle very small food items (Woods et al. 1992; D’Elia, 1999). The tail is long and rounded with a scaly texture and scantily haired (D’Elia. 1999). In addition to having webbed hind feet, coypu have several other adaptations conducive to their semi-aquatic lifestyle. The eyes, ears, and nostrils of coypu are set high on their heads. Furthermore,

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