The coypu (Myocastor coypus), a rodent whose natural habitat is stagnant freshwater, has become a widespread pest in France within the last decade. This study investigated the prevalence of seropositivity and the renal carriage of leptospires in coypus in order to evaluate their role in terms of the risk of infection by Leptospira interrogans in domestic animals and humans. The study involved the application of serological and bacteriological methods to identify leptospires infection and/or carriage in 738 coypus trapped from 1996 to 1999 in six areas of France. Seroprevalence in samples ranged from 16.5 to 66%, and three field strains were isolated (two L. interrogans Icterohaemorrhagiae and one L. interrogans Sejroe). This first report on the isolation of leptospires from coypus in France emphasises the role of this animal in the epidemiology of leptospirosis.