• Hàbitat Natural
  • Location in the zoo
  • Escolta'l
Geographic distribution:

Geographic distribution:

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Introduced in other regions: North America, north Asia, east Africa and many regions of Europe.

  • Scientific name:
    • Myocastor coypus 
  • Taxonomy:
    • Class: Mammalia 
    • Order: Rodentia 
    • Family: Myocastoridae 
  • Biology:
    • Area of origin: America 
    • Habitat: Fresh water 
    • Social life: Gregarious 
    • Food: Herbivorous 
  • Rating:
    • Mammals 
  • Physical Characteristics:
    • Longevity: 5-6 years, up to 8 in captivity 
    • Weight at birth: 200-250 g 
    • Middleweight: 6-10 kg 
    • Length: 38-63 cm 
  • Reproduction
    • Reproduction: Viviparous 
    • Gestation: 110-130 days 
    • Nombre de cries: 2-10 offspring 

Risk level of the species

Red list: Scale according to the situation of the species IUCN

Risk level of the species least concern


The coypu is a large and robust rodent that can weigh up to 10 kg. Semi-aquatic, they live in dens they dig on the banks of lakes, swamps and slow-flowing rivers that are surrounded by abundant vegetation. Thanks to their webbed hind feet, they are good swimmers and can remain underwater for a long while to escape from enemies. Other traits are their long and scaly tails, hairless and with round sections, their long whiskers and large yellow incisors.
Crepuscular and nocturnal, they can be found in couples or in small family groups, although they can also form large colonies under favourable conditions. They dig underground burrows that are not that deep or complex, always next to water.
Gestation lasts 120-130 days and they give birth to between 2 and 10 babies.  Females have nipples on the top of their flanks, so that the young can nurse while the mother is swimming.
Originating from central and southern South America, they have been introduced to North America, north Asia, east Africa and many regions of Europe for their valuable hides (known among furriers as ‘otter fur’). There are some populations in the wild made up of animals that have escaped farms.
In Spain, for example, there are quite stable coypu colonies in different provinces including Guipuzcoa and Navarra. In Catalonia, there are wild populations on the river Tordera, the stream of Arbucies, Montseny and on other smaller waterways in Ripollès, Bages and the Valley of Aran.