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Nutria

Scientific Name

Myocastor coypus Molina (ITIS)

Common Name

Nutria, coypu, coypu rat, nutria rat, swamp beaver

Native To

South America (Jojola et al. 2005)

Date of U.S. Introduction

First established populations introduced in the 1930s (Jojola et al. 2005)

Means of Introduction

Introduced for fur production (Jojola et al. 2005)

Impact

Damages vegetation and destroys habitat in wetlands (Jojola et al. 2005)

Current U.S. Distribution

Gulf of Mexico coast, Atlantic coast, Pacific Northwest

Nutria

Nutria

Credit

Photo by Justin Secrist

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Spotlights

  • Factsheet - Nutria, An Invasive Rodent [PDF | 1.48 MB]

    • Apr 2020
    • USDA. APHIS. Wildlife Services.

    • The nutria (Myocastor coypus), a large, semi-aquatic rodent native to South America, was originally brought to the United States in 1889 for its fur. When the nutria fur market collapsed in the 1940s, thousands of nutria escaped or were released into the wild by ranchers who could no longer afford to feed and house them. While nutria devour weeds and overabundant vegetation, they also destroy native aquatic vegetation, crops, and wetland areas. Recognized in the United States as an invasive wildlife species, nutria have been found in at least 20 States and most recently in California. The nutria’s relatively high reproductive rate, combined with a lack of population controls, helped the species to spread.

  • USDA and Partners Work to Eliminate Invasive Nutria From Maryland's Eastern Shore

    • Jul 2, 2018
    • USDA. Blog.

    • Maryland’s eastern shore has seen thousands of acres of protective marshland impacted by the nutria's destructive feeding habits. To protect the valuable resources of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, The Chesapeake Bay Nutria Eradication Project (CBNEP) began in 2002 to permanently remove invasive nutria from the marshes of the Delmarva Peninsula and to protect, enhance, and restore the aquatic and river ecosystems they damaged.

  • Saving the Bay: The History of the Chesapeake Bay Nutria Eradication Project - A Story Map by USDA

    • USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

    • An interactive story map. The Chesapeake Bay Nutria Eradication Project (CBNEP) is funded largely by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and operations carried out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services. The program is also supported by a coalition of 25 private, local, state, and federal partners which is critical to the success of the project.
      See also: APHIS Interactive Maps to explore plant and animal health or wildlife damage management data

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

Videos

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source.

Council or Task Force
Partnership
Federal Government
International Government
State and Local Government
Academic
Citations
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Myocastor coypus. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

  • Jojola, S., G. Witmer, and D. Nolte. 2005. Nutria: an invasive rodent pest or valued resource? In: D.L. Nolte and K.A. Fagerstone (Eds.), Proceedings of the 11th Wildlife Damage Management Conference (Paper 110). Fort Collins, Colo.: National Wildlife Research Center.