In our community of Kembs, France, these creatures(water rat, ragondin, coypu)thrive near the fisherman’s wharf among the ducks, swan, and geese. Kembs, known formerly as Cambete, is an Alsacian village, and is the city where renowned Frenchman, René Koechlin, officially launched the Hydroelectric Plant, a system which drives the energy production of all hydroelectricity on the Rhine River. www.kembs.fr
Over the years, I have noticed the surge in confidence of these rodents. In the past, only a dash into the water could be heard and a fleeting mass of furry hair could be seen upon the approach of a human. Now, the creatures veer quite close (last week, one came within one foot away from my husband as he took a photo.)
Shortly after Thanksgiving 2010, snow embraced our village and yielded beauty in white. During our(my husband and mine) stroll at the canal, the swans, geese, ducks and water rats approached…obviously hungry. Breadless, I reached into my pocket and retrieved a few (pre-snow) walnuts (approximately every two hundred meters thrives a walnut tree). Unable to crack the nuts in my palm, I hurriedly placed them on the stone at the base of the canal, and stomped. WOW! The geese chattered, the swans glided, the ducks quacked and the water rats swished.
The ducks made it to the walnut meat first, but the water rats were the victorious ones!
I had read that water rats are carnivorous….I guess the next best thing to meat is nut meat.