Bonn No less than six small nutria babies are currently lying in a nest on the shore of the lake in the Bonn Rheinaue. Not an unusual time, explains a mammalogist from Museum Koenig. But the current temperatures could be dangerous for the offspring.
The nutria family in Bonn's Rheinaue has had offspring. Photos show six young animals in a nest, guarded by their parents.
Actually good news, even if the current temperatures cause concern. "Presumably, the animals were surprised by the sudden onset of winter here in Bonn," explains Jan Decher, mammalogist at Museum Koenig. In principle, he says, the mating season of the beaver rat, which is actually native to South America, is year-round, although most tend to reproduce in the summer. However, "The animals are gradually adapting to our climate conditions and no longer need warm temperatures," Decher explains. So nutria offspring in January is not uncommon, especially in a winter as mild as it was until a few days ago.
But the current subzero temperatures can be dangerous for the young animals. For example, if the lake in the Rheinaue and the nearby banks of the Rhine freeze over - because nutrias feed on aquatic plants and riparian vegetation.
However, Decher warns against feeding the beaver rats: "The animals manage very well themselves. Besides, they don't belong here and compete with our native species." In addition, the food could fall into the water and that increases the risk of the lake turning over.
"Even though it's hard, we can't be too emotional about this. Even if young animals should die, the population will recover. After all, the nutrias in the Rheinaue have been living there for a few years," Decher explains.
Editor's note: The nutrias shown in the photos were not fed by the GA editorial team.
(Original text: Britta Röös; Translation: Mareike Graepel)