Royal Canal users warned to watch out for ‘rat-like’ creature known as coypu in Shannonside region

Waterways Ireland has issued an alert for walkers and cyclist in the Shannonside region to on the lookout for an unusual creature they are concerned about.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that a coypu, which is described as a large invasive rodent species, and which are highly damaging to rivers and canals, have been possibly sighted on the Royal Canal near Ashtown, Dublin.

The rat-like creature can carry a number of diseases harmful to humans and domestic animals.

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The coypu has very distinctive yellow or orange front teeth and can grow up to a metre long and is often found near permanent water.

Eamon Horgan, environmental officer with Waterways Ireland, is urging any walkers in the Shannonside region who are using the Royal Canal towpaths to keep be on the lookout :