Video: Nutria Pest In North Mississippi
STARKVILLE, Miss.(WCBI)–A rat-like animal is wearing out it’s welcome in North Mississippi. Nutria are native to South America but, more and more Mississippians are coming in contact with the pesky creatures. These exotic animals, could show up in your very back yard.
Increasing in numbers and found living near ponds, rivers, and lakes, nutria have made it to our neighborhoods from Louisiana by way of The Tenn Tom Waterway. The animal was originally kept and raised on farms for meat and it’s furry coat.
“You know the outer coarse fur is not real good but when you pluck those long guard hairs off this under fur on nutria is really valuable. But it’s a lot of work and very expensive to do that with. But when you can get to it, that nutria fur is beautiful,” said Kris Godwin/MSU Wildlife Expert.
Nutria dig and burrow around and have been known to eat corn, sweet potatoes, rice, and other grains, but their diet is mainly that of leafy vegetation growing near water.
“And they are such a nuisance now that nobody you know uses them for anything. Because of the damage they are doing, especially to coastal marsh systems and then like up our way where they are in the river system like the Tom Bigbee. Or if they get into some of these farm ponds or lakes they’ll come out and damage any kind of crop,” said Kris Godwin.
These fast breeders are able to have babies three times a year and can produce two to eight offspring per litter.
“They can be trapped all year long with anyone that has a trapper’s license on their property. As part of the beaver control assistance program we consider them a target species. So if we are out there doing beaver work we will take nutria at the same time,” said Kris Godwin.
Size wise they are between a beaver and a muskrat. Nutria can weigh anywhere from 12 to 40 pounds.