My Fuzzy New Friends

We live two blocks from the Vltava River here in Prague, and the stretch of the river near our flat is known for its graceful swans and super-cute mallard duck couples. But along the river a bit to the south is the Prague Yacht Club—a joke, to be sure, because the boats are a collection of small sailboats and ramshackle row boats. Swimming among the boats and sunning themselves on the shore, are fuzzy, buck-toothed, long-whiskered nutria. Also known as coypu, these guys are mostly herbivorous, semiaquatic rodents. They sort of look like beavers without the flat tails or groundhogs that like to swim. To be honest, nutria are considered a pest in most places, but…

I think they are so cute.

Sometimes, David and I stop at the grocery store for cabbage, carrots, and apples to feed the nutria. I guess it’s kind of my thing to want to feed all the creatures around me.

A few days ago, I walked further south, past the Yacht Club, to a walking path that’s directly at the water’s edge. And there, I saw a blonde nutria. Most of them are the color of dark chocolate, and there’s one large, all-black nutria that I’ve nicknamed Black Bart. Here’s Butterscotch:

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