herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Three-foot long giant rat found swimming in Irish river

A three-foot long rat has been swimming in an Irish river for the past fortnight, and is looking for a good home.

The rat, which is three times the size of the average Irish rodent, is the first of its kind to have ever been found in Ireland.

The rodent has been identified as a Coypu American swamp rat, is native only to South America and wildlife experts believe it may have been brought here by a collector.

The Kildare Animal Foundation has been caring for newly-named 'Swampy' since it was discovered in a Tipperary river last week.

And now they're looking for a good home for the giant rodent.

"We're going to just hold in to him for a while and then we'll look for a permanent home for him," Dan Donoher of the Kildare Animal Foundation Wildlife Unit told the Irish Sun.

"I don't know if the zoo or Fota Wildlife Park will take him... or if someone had the proper set-up and we could be sure he'd be properly cared for."

Mr Donoher told the newspaper the rat was found swimming in the river in Tipperary recently. The rat is almost three foot long and he weighs about 6kg.

"It must have escaped or been released into the wild because ordinarily they would not be found here," he continued.

"It's the first one of its kind that anyone has ever heard of.

"He doesn't have any fear in him so we think he must have been a pet. He's in good enough condition."

Mr Donohue said the believe Swampy's condition may have deteriorated for the couple of weeks he was in the wild.

Nutria (also known as a Coypu) rat
Nutria (also known as a Coypu) rat

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