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Scientists in the News

Want to keep this giant swamp rat as a pet? California says no

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Associated Press/Stockton Record

California wildlife officials don’t want residents keeping nutria — invasive, semi-aquatic rodents — as pets.

The California Fish and Game Commission has been trying to keep the South American nutria from spreading in the state. State and federal agencies have warned that explosive population growth combined with California’s reliance on expansive waterways connected to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta make the state especially vulnerable. Experts say their burrowing is damaging to waterways and flood protection infrastructure.