N is for Nutria

Nutria    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  coypu fur

Our definition:   Nutria (also called coypu) are large, rodents who are more agile in the water than on land. They live in burrows, or nests, never far from the water.  Nutria may inhabit a riverbank or lakeshore, or dwell in the midst of wetlands. They are strong swimmers and can remain submerged for as long as five minutes.  Their average lifespan in the wild is eight to ten years.  They are varied eaters, most fond of aquatic plants and roots, and are very very cute.  Quite beaver-like 😀

Nutria can be rather social animals and sometimes live in large colonies, reproducing prolifically. Females have two or three litters every year, each consisting of five to seven young. These animals mature quickly and remain with their mothers for only a month or two.

Tragically, many misguided humans have cruelly exploited nutria on fur farms (“Originally native to subtropical and temperate South America, it has since been introduced to North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, primarily by fur ranchers“) and, when these ventures failed and the captive animals escaped or were released into parts of the world where they didn’t belong, they bred fast and caused a lot of damage to wetlands.  This has resulted in many attempts to cull them worldwide including, in the US, incentives being paid to people to hunt and trap them.  They get $5 per nutria tail handed in to a Coastal Environments Inc. official.

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8 thoughts on “N is for Nutria

  1. Philosophical and practical question: obviously raising nutria for fur was cruel, and hunting them is cruel, so what do we do about them? They cause major problems in already fragile ecosystems. What’s the solution?

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    • I really don’t know. Birth control? Humans have made so many mistakes like these, introducing non-native species into new countries and messing up the natural balance, but they can’t undo it. Two wrongs – or a thousand wrongs – don’t make a right. If humans could just stay out of it from now on, maybe the natural order would re-establish itself?

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  2. Hi, Coypus were introduced here in France for their fur. Today they live peacefully beside lakes and rivers, but are deemed nuisances because they weaken the banks alongside water, and are culled regularly. We once befriended a young Coypu at our nearby lake, when he could’nt resist the bread we took for him, and the ducks. Sadly he too became a victim of culling.

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