SACRAMENTO (AP) — Wildlife officials are asking California residents to report any sightings of nutria — an invasive rodent that eats so much aquatic vegetation that it threatens wetlands and marshes.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday it is trying to eradicate the rodents from the state because once established, nutria could cause loss of wetlands, damage to agricultural crops and levees, dikes and roadbeds.

It says more than 20 nutria have been found in wetlands, rivers and canals and in Merced, Fresno and Stanislaus counties.

Native to South America, nutria can reach up to 2.5 feet (1 meter) in body length and 20 pounds (9 kilograms) in weight.

A female nutria can give birth to more than 200 offspring within a year of reaching reproductive maturity.

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Comments (2)
  1. California: The first nutria imported into the United States went to Elizabeth Lake, California, for fur farming in 1899 (Evans, 1970). Although this attempt at fur farming was not successful, subsequent importations must have been made because by 1940, California had a small feral population of nutria (Schitoskey and others, 1972). Conditions in California are generally not favorable for nutria in the wild. A small eradication program was successful and Deems and Pursley (1978) report they were eradicated by 1978. They are in Oregon too, Oregon: Imported for fur farming in 1937; some escaped and feral nutria were officially recorded as early as 1941 (Larrison, 1943). Currently a viable wild population exists.

  2. Nutri CANNOT have two hundred offspring in a year. That is ridiculous.

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