Is the Gravesend giant rat a Coypu?
I just saw this tweet from the Newsshopper
Heloise Wood @Saltounite ·Is the Gravesend giant rat actually a rat? @NewsShopper http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/11149784.UPDATE__Is_the_giant_rat_reported_in_Gravesend_actually_a_rat_/?ref=var_0 …
If it has webbed hind feet, it could be a Coypu. They're herbivores and eaten in France (Ragondins) and South America. My brother had a pond in his garden in France which ragondins invaded and I understand they are causing damage to the Broads in Norfolk and Suffolk.
They are also a problem on the Bayou in New Orleans. I was told they had escaped from captivity on an island owned by McIlhenny (of Tabasco fame) and bred in the wild. I've seen them there - they are enormous - and I may even have a photo which I will look out.
I have eaten pâté de ragondin in the Vendée and came across this recipe for
ragoût de ragondin on a French website.
I would be wary of eating from the wild, however, without checking with public health as they may be carriers of various parasites such as Liver fluke. Could they also be carriers of Weil's disease which is believed to have caused the death in 2010 of Olympic gold medal-winning rower Andy Holmes ?