Large Swamp Rats Called Nutria Consuming Louisiana's Wetlands

Posted on May 12, 2013

Nutria Photo


The Weather Channel reports that large swamp rats, called nutria (Myocastor coypus), are "eating Louisiana." This is technically correct as the semi-aquatic rats are devouring plants in Louisiana's wetlands, which augments soil erosion. The National Geographic says Nutria, also known as coypu, can be 17 to 25 inches tall (43 to 64 cm) and weigh as much as 15 to 22 pounds (7 to 10 kg). The big rats were brought to Louisiana from South America in the 1930s by entrepreneurs who hoped to profit from selling nutria fur.

This photo shows the size of Nutria droppings.

Nutria Droppings


Chris Metzier, the filmaker behind the upcoming documentary, Rodents of Unusual Size, told Take Part in an interview that the nutria help to erode 40 square miles per soil per year. This is bad because those wetlands help protect the coast from the surge generated by hurricanes. Take a look:



Photos: Stephen R. Kendrot/APHIS