Science News

California’s war against nutria is getting bloodier. But it’s unclear who’s winning

Image by Christoph Schütz from Pixabay

SF –

Of the 1,680 nutria taken by members of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Nutria Eradication Program over the past two-and-a-half years,  a whopping 663 (39.4%) have been hunted down in the last four months alone. Because the invasive 20-pound rodents pose a unique threat to California’s wetlands, the state has expanded the size of the Nutria Eradication Program over the past year to boast a staff of 26 field operatives 100% dedicated to exterminating the swamp rat. 834 nutria have been taken in 2020, and officials believe the increased rate of carnage is attributable to increased staffing, but also the rodent’s near-prolific ability to reproduce. A single nutria has the ability to produce up to 200 offspring per year.