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Rodents of unusual size (R.O.U.S.) do exist, and they do lurk in marshes! Nutria, or Myocastor coypus, is a large, invasive, semi-aquatic species of rodent that threatens Virginia’s wetlands. Armed with giant, orange incisors and voracious appetite for vegetation, this creature can chew through beautiful wetland landscapes, turning them into bare patches of mud that then become eroded to open water over time. They eventually outcompete native wildlife by destroying their habitat, which is scary for Virginia’s wildlife.

Nutria produce up to three litters each year of four to five young, a reproduction rate that left unmanaged can quickly lead to thousands upon thousands of individuals. #scary They grow to between 15 and 30 pounds. Each nutria can consume up to 25% of their body weight in vegetation a day, and they feed year-round.

If you’re not a wetland, you have no reason to fear physical harm from a nutria, but Virginia’s unique waterway ecosystems are under threat from this invasive species. Visit the link below to find out more about nutria, where they are, how to tell them apart from the native species muskrats and beavers, and what you can do to help.

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