I finished working yesterday lunchtime, and took a lazy afternoon in Edmond de Rothschild park in Boulogne-Billancourt (same suburb as the Albert Khan park I wrote about previously). I wanted to rendez-vous with my old friends the coypu, and within minutes of arriving Papa Coypu jumped out of the pond to say hello… Well, hello and do you have any food for me? It’s hard to befriend a coypu without some nutritious snack lurking upon your person (raw carrot being a particular favourite), though M. Coypu made do with my stale bread.
After bashing the living daylights out of my rock hard bread against the stones below, I proceeded to throw the crumbly debris into the water, whereupon the usual array of wildlife soon engulfed us. The slender black shadows of carp glided beneath the water keen to partake in the feeding frenzy; smaller catfish rose up between the multitude of ducks and geese, and pigeons were content to keep at a distance, nibbling on the deposited crumbs of the bread massacre. Those poor terrapins were once again at the mercy of all, pushed back under the water at every opportunity.
An elderly couple tried to sacrifice their granddaughter to King Coypu, dangling her little naked legs perilously close to this aquatic rodent. In actual fact, these coypu are very gentle and timid. One little girl even tried stroking one, and another man enticed it to pull circus tricks using just leaves as poorly disguised food.
Eventually two baby coypus came along with Maman Coypu.
Whilst they generally ruled the pond, and received a larger share of food than any of their neighbours, it didn’t stop the odd goose from trying to have a peck.
I know some consider coypu to be pests, but I’m rather taken by these critters. To disguise my blatant bias, I will end with a couple of moorhens and a mummy duck.