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Prato della Valle (Il Prato) is a football shaped eliptical circular canal and park in the centre of Padua (Padova). It is one of the largest parks in Europe. All but 5 of the original statues survive. They were of Venetian Doges and were destroyed by Napolean in 1797. The park was built between 1635 & 1785 AD.

The creature swimming away towards its nest in a hole below the seated women is South American in origin from subtropical and temperate zones. When I asked what it was, locals told me it was a big mouse. But it is the size of a cat. It is a 'coypu', a semi-aquatic rodent that was introduced to Europe for fur farming in the 1920's. more info here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coypu

Here's a map showing it's range in Europe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coypu#/media/File:Nutria-Europe.gif

Other names are 'nutria', ragondin (France), beverrat (Holland), Biberratte / Sumpfbiber (Germany), & nutria / castorino (Italy).

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Additional Photos by Chris Jules (ChrisJ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13036 W: 1021 N: 25266] (123195)
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