This Animal is Destroying Wildlife in California & Louisiana

There is one single pest species that has caused so much damage to wildlife in California that some experts have likened this single species as damaging to wildlife as an Earthquake or Wildfire - a huge claim for a region that has dealt with severe wildfires in recent years. 

While a big claim, it is likely an accurate one. 

The pest in question: “nutria,” otherwise known as coypu, has the power to change biomes and entire landscapes as seen by aerial satellite photography! 

The video version of this post is fascinating. We recommend you watch it now by clicking HERE. 

You can also download the free audio-only pest-free podcast version of this post right HERE. 

The Introduction of Nutria

Nutria are small rodent-like creatures that kind of look like a mix between a raccoon and a rat. 

They are not native to the United States but were originally brought here for fur trading.

However, fur trading proved to be unprofitable as these creatures tended to eat a lot, and also would often escape into the wild. 

Some fur traders released their nutria into the wild whereas others escaped. 

Nutria and Their Rampage: The Response

The introduction of nutria (coypu) into new habitats around the world have proved to be very detrimental to the environment. 

The California department of fish and wildlife has compared the threat of their presence to that of wildfires. 

The problem is so apparent and damaging to the diversity of wetland ecosystems that environmental groups normally extremely opposed to culling are open to the idea of culling nutria.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries gives hunters $5 for a nutria tail and $1 for a nutria heart.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries also has encouraged the hunting and eating of nutria, as has other places. 

You can search up “nutria recipe” online to find your own nutria recipes… Some saying such as “if you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em” have gone around to help encourage the hunting and eating of these creatures in order to combat the damage they are causing. 

Nutria and Their Rampage: The Damage

What exactly are nutria doing that has prompted such extreme responses from local governments across the United States? 

Nutria typically spend most of their time in the water, but occasionally will go up to land. However, they won’t drift too far away from a lake, river, or body of water. 

They cause severe damage to the environment as a result of their burrowing and intense herbivory, or in other words eating a ton of plants. 

This leads to the damage of wetlands such as those in California, causing more scarcity and destroying the environment of species which are already rare and endangered living in these wetlands. 

The damage caused by nutria is so apparent that some satellite photos can show the rapid transformation that nutria can make in just a few decades of infesting a wetland. 

Nutria eat a lot and never stop eating throughout the year. They will happily eat through an entire wetland! 

Nutria have the capacity to turn a wetland biome into an open water biome, eating up the majority of plants which prevents the other creatures there from getting the food that they need to survive. 

Nutria & Diseases

Nutria can carry TB (Tuberculosis) which is a threat to humans and wildlife. Nutria can also carry other parasites and pathogens as well, leading to more destruction of natural environments and severe risk for endangered species which are seeing their wetlands completely eaten up by nutria. 


Nutria are a threat to ecosystems not just in the United States but around the world. They are a non-native invasive species that have an unfair advantage over other wildlife creatures in the same ecosystem. 

This leads to them over-eating, destroying the diversity of the ecosystem and causing endangered and at risk species to be at an increased risk of going extinct. 

The problem is so severe that local governments have encouraged the trapping of these creatures as well as hunting for food, in some cases even creating recipes! 

Got Wildlife or Pests? 

Nutria aren’t the only pests that can invade your home! Raccoons, skunks, insects, and all kinds of other wildlife and pests can spread diseases to you, your family, and your pets as well as damage your home. 

If you think that you have a wildlife or pest-related problem, please let the experts handle it. 

Call us at 855-WILDLIFE or visit our website at for more information. 

-Wildlife x Team International 

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