Whiskers, or vibrissae, are a tactile sensory system only seen in mammals and can serve different functions depending on the lifestyle of the animal. This coypu, or river rat, relies on its whiskers for navigation in muddy waters when vision is impaired. Coypus are originally from South America.
A Coypus, aka river rat, is a large semi-aquatic rodent.
“The coypu somewhat resembles a very large rat, or a beaver with a small tail. Adults are typically 5–9 kg (11–20 lb) in weight, and 40–60 cm (16–24 in) in body length, with a 30–45 cm (12–18 in) tail. They have a coarse, darkish brown outer fur with a soft under-fur. Two distinguishing marks are the presence of a white patch on the muzzle, and webbed hind feet."
I have already told you about the Soviet cartoon about Gavroche, now let me tell you about the Soviet book about Gavroche. I was surprised to find it at home, although this is not the weirdest book I’ve discovered on our bookshelves: I’m still wondering at which point in their lives and why my parents acquired handbooks on bee-keeping and coypu-keeping (they either really don’t remember or don’t tell)… Anyway. It is not big, just 48 pages, published in Moscow in 1967, and it is Gavroche’s storyline in Les Misérables retold for children. In some places, it is quite close to the original - for example, in the parts that tell about Gavroche helping two little boys and taking them to the elephant. This book doesn’t mention, however, that they were Gavroche’s brothers, and concerning their fate, it just says that they disappeared, and were probably either taken to a police station by some policeman or just lost in the streets. Some episodes, on the other hand, are omitted completely, like Gavroche taking part in his father’s prison break. Perhaps this part hadn’t been thought suitable for the target audience, which are, as the back cover specifies, elementary school children, or it could have been left out because it had little to do with the central topic of the book, namely the rebellion.
Some other Les Mis characters appear at the background as well, but they are not named. Like, there’s an unnamed police inspector/spy, an unnamed bride of one of the revolutionaries (since Cosette and Marius weren’t engaged before the rebellion, it seems quite a promotion), and, naturally, a bunch of sketchy unnamed revolutionaries. My favourite part is that Enjolras and Marius are the same person here, a mysterious “leader of the barricade”. I tried to imagine a person with character traits of both Enjolras and Marius, and I think my brain burnt a bit. Reading Les Mis must have been fun for those who read this little book as kids.
Internet is telling me that there was also a similar book about Cosette, but that one I haven’t come across.
Myocastor coypus, the commonly named Coypu, also called Nutria in some South American countries, is not an otter, nor a castor or a large rat, though certainly it is a rodent. Coypus are the only member of the family Myocastoridae.
Although native to South America, the Coypu has been introduced to North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, (except Australia and Antarctica). While perceived in some regions as a valuable resource, in most regions these rodents are considered a pest species, because they have caused damage to water control structures, crops, and marsh systems, and are regarded as a disease host.
The New Acadia Project, or Project Nouvelle-Acadie, received a $52,000 grant this week from the Coypu Foundation, founded by the estate of the late John S. McIlhenny.
The money will be used to purchase sensing equipment to identify areas of interest that may lead archaeologists to the original camp sites of the first Acadian settlers.
The grant comes at an opportune time, according to project chair and Loreauville Mayor Al Broussard, who said that archeological work on the project would have been limited this winter because of money constraints to purchase necessary equipment. Read more.