The feeding habits of the nutria rat have caused destruction to wetlands in the USA. PART OF WILD SKY MEDIA | FAMILY & PARENTING, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries: Nutria, University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Myocastor coypus, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Myocastor coypus, Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management: Nutria, Characteristics of the Male and Female American Alligator, Western Diamondback Rattlesnake Facts for Kids. Other examples of invasive species in the United States are Japanese knotweed, the grass or Asian carp, and lionfish. This adds up to 2.5 to 5 pounds worth of vegetation daily. The nutria rat has a resemblance to a large rat or beaver. Nutria may inhabit a riverbank or lakeshore, or dwell in the midst of wetlands. Humans have caused the spread of several invasive species worldwide! Important food plants in the United States include cordgrasses (Spartina spp. Within the rodent world, nutrias are on the sizable end of the spectrum -- usually weighing somewhere between 15 and 22 pounds, according to National Geographic. Nutrias are a "least concern" species. Nutria rats are known for their ability to live in captivity. Nutria rats also have webbed hind feet. A baby nutria rat will leave its mother two months after birth. Because of those similar traits, nutrias are often called "river rats.". Nutria prefer living in aquatic environments. The nutria rat is native to South America, but was introduced into the wetlands of the southern US during the 20th century. The nutria rat had no natural enemies and the wetlands of Louisiana provided the vegetation for its diet. The nutria’s rise to global domination is largely thanks to the fur … Roots, rhizomes, and tubers are especially important during winter. In many areas, including Canada and more than a dozen U.S. states, fur farm escapees quickly establish large wild populations near their new homes. These animals mature quickly and remain with their mothers for only a month or two. They were introduced to these areas by humans who had trapped and transported them to establish farms or breeding colonies for use in the fur trade. Nutria particularly enjoy the base of plant stems and dig for roots and rhizomes in the winter. A List of the Predators of the Gila Monster. (2020, July 30). In many cases, nutria rats will dig up an entire plant to reach the roots and rhizomes. This adds up to 2.5 to 5 pounds worth of vegetation daily. Nutria rats will also eat crops and grass from lawns. They begin searching for food at sunset, and activity will continue until sunrise. Human beings are some of the biggest predators to nutrias. However, due to their nocturnal lifestyle patterns, it's often difficult for diurnal predators to get to them. They have several adaptations that enable them to live this semi-aquatic lifestyle. In North America, Nutria have been introduced across the majority of the Southern United States. They live in burrows, or nests, never far from the water. Those participating in the program receive a license for capture or hunting, and are paid a certain amount per animal. I recently noticed holes in my yard that are about 2 inches wide. One major distinguishing trait is its orange front teeth. Check out this video: Watch Chef Philippe prepare Nutria à la Provençale, from skinning the rodent to final dish! The rats can breed multiple times a year, producing between five and seven young in each litter. Nutria are opportunistic feeders and eat approximately 25% of their body weight daily. They are also strong diggers and make their homes underground. Bills to create public nutria hunting seasons are flying through the legislature faster than shot from a 12-gauge. They are found most frequently in freshwater marshes and wetlands. Nutria rats have all the characteristics of an invasive species. Although several animals will eat nutria rats if they come across them, their nocturnal lifestyle helps them to avoid predators that hunt in the day. ), bulrushes (Scirpus spp. Male nutria rats will generally be larger than female nutria rats by weight. Nutria rats will also inhabit brackish marshes. Nutria rats are relatively large rodents that are similar in size to a raccoon. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. One female can have up to 200 babies in her lifetime! These rodents eat a lot of plants -- think roots, foliage and stems. These rodents build their homes close to river banks or near other freshwater areas such as ponds, lakes and wetlands. Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. They also have few predators. Which Animals Like to Eat a Boa Constrictor? Gluttons, they eat approximately 25% of their body weight daily and prefer several small meals to one large one. ), arrowheads (Sagittaria spp. Particularly, it is often mistaken for beavers and muskrats.

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