By Huseyin Yildiz
IGDIR, Turkey (AA) - A semiaquatic rodent species from South America has found a new home in eastern Turkey, said an environmental expert on Tuesday.
Groups of coypus have frequently been sighted in the Agri Mountain National Park, said Emrah Coban.
Locals call them "water monkey".
Coban said the rodents mostly breed in subtropical and temperate climate conditions, but they have acclimatized themselves to the extreme weather in the Turkish mountain range.
"Typically, temperatures rise to 45 C [113 F] in summer, decrease to minus 10 C [14 F] in winter. They have surprisingly gotten used to living Agri's climatic conditions," he said.
He said coypus were brought to Europe to be used commercially for their fur. Some of them escaped the factories that housed them and came to Turkey through Russia.
They can grow up to 52 centimeters and weigh up to 20 pounds.
*Writing by Fahri Aksut