SACRAMENTO (AP) — 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 and is discussing adding nutria to a list of prohibited pets.
Scientists say they’ve captured hundreds as part of a $2 million plan to eradicate the animal.
The orange-toothed rodents can give birth to litters of up to 12. They can grow as large as 20 pounds or the size of a raccoon.
Experts say their burrowing is damaging to waterways and flood protection infrastructure such as the levees protecting Manteca, Lathrop, Stockton, and other communities. They also are ferocious eaters of vegetation.
Nutria were imported in the early 1900s for the fur trade, but the market collapsed and the rodents escaped or were released. Small populations were eradicated in the 1970s, but nutria were again discovered in 2017.
Report finding nutrias by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (866) 440-9530.