Le ragondin est un animal parfaitement adapté à la vie aquatique. Il creuse des terriers de plusieurs mètres de long dans les berges. Ceux-ci possèdent plusieurs entrées dont une est immergée. Un nid d’herbes est aménagé dans l’élargissement d’un des tunnels, dans lesquels la femelle mettra ses petits au monde et les allaitera les premiers jours. Ses mœurs sont essentiellement nocturnes mais il possède une activité diurne non négligeable. Dans la journée, ils se tiennent souvent sur des radeaux de plantes aquatiques ou sur des troncs affleurant la surface de l’eau. Le ragondin utilise toujours les mêmes accès pour sortir de l’eau et aller sur nourrir sur terre. Ces passages sont appelés coulées. C’est un animal sédentaire dont le territoire se limite à quelques centaines de mètres carrés. Son odorat et son ouïe sont particulièrement développés, mais sa vision est très faible. Il est quasiment myope et se laisse facilement approcher. Alors que dans son pays d’origine, les populations sont régulées par les caïmans, les jaguars et autres félidés, il n’a pas de prédateurs sous nos latitudes, à l’exception des jeunes qui peuvent être la proie de rapaces ou de renards.
Le ragondin a un régime essentiellement végétarien. Il se nourrit de feuilles et de tiges de végétaux aquatiques, de racines et de tubercules, parfois d’écorces de jeunes arbres, mais ne dédaigne pas les fruits et les légumes lorsqu’il en trouve. Compte tenu de la faible teneur en nutriments des végétaux qu’il absorbe, le ragondin qui pratique la double digestion est obligé, pour éviter les carences, de consommer les caecotrophes (sortes de crottes humides et luisantes se présentant en grappes) issues de la première phase de digestion.

The nutria is a stout mammal of considerable size, whose body covered with a thick impervious fur, is terminated by a cylindrical tail which tapers at its extremity. The coat color varies from light gray to brown with brown undertones under the ears, cheeks and chest. The fleece is made up of two distinct layers of hair: the very dense and short underlay ensuring the impermeability, and the longer jars forming the upper layer which insulates from the cold. The animal has two small eyes and nostrils placed very high on the head that allow him to see and breathe in the water. The nostrils have the ability to be sealed when the animal dives underwater. The ears are round and small. The snout is equipped with long gray vibrios and its jaws of four long incisors of orange hue. The hairs on the muzzle are also graying. The forelegs have long claws for digging and holding food, while the webbed hind legs are for propulsion in water. The nutria is an animal perfectly adapted to aquatic life. He digs burrows several meters long in the banks. These have several entries, one of which is submerged. A nest of herbs is arranged in the widening of one of the tunnels, in which the female will put her babies in the world and will nurse them the first days. His manners are mainly nocturnal but he has a significant diurnal activity. During the day, they often stand on rafts of aquatic plants or on trunks flush with the surface of the water. The nutria always uses the same access to get out of the water and go on feeding on land. These passages are called castings. It is a sedentary animal whose territory is limited to a few hundred square meters. His sense of smell and hearing are particularly developed, but his vision is very weak. He is almost shortsighted and can easily be approached. While in his country of origin, populations are regulated by caimans, jaguars and other felids, he has no predators in our latitudes, with the exception of young people who may fall prey to raptors or foxes.
The nutria has an essentially vegetarian diet. It feeds on leaves and stems of aquatic plants, roots and tubers, sometimes barks of young trees, but does not disdain fruits and vegetables when they find them. Given the low nutrient content of the plants it absorbs, the nutria that practices double digestion is obliged, to avoid deficiencies, to consume the caecotrophs (kinds of wet and shiny droppings in clusters) from the first digestion phase.

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14 October 2018