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NutriaPosted on May 20, 2010
14 CommentsA web-footed, semi-aquatic rodent that can weigh up to 22 pounds, which is definitely not okay, but still nowhere near the size of the largest extant rodent, the nutria (Myocastor coypus, lit. ‘I’m looking for the one-armed man’) is the escaped-convict-turned-wily-fugitive of the natural world.
Originally imported from South America by fur traders and trappers hoping to create a booming market for horrifying rodent fur in the United States, nutria were either released on purpose, or escaped from their fur farms, or took advantage of the situation when their prison bus swerved off the road and collided with a train. However it happened, the fact remains that nutria did escape into the wild in many US states, and there they scurry to this day, eluding capture, breeding like rabbits, and causing all manner of mischief.
Unfortunately, they don’t look like rabbits. Nutria look like a mentally-challenged beaver with orange teeth. Yes, these oversized rodents have bright orange incisors, thanks to an iron-rich pigment that clearly got confused as to exactly where it should be expressing itself. One can only imagine the frustration this has caused for generations of wildlife photographers.
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