Nutria, also know as copyu or water rat, were brought to the United States to breed for their pelts, but over time they've become part of the wildlife of the country as an invasive species. In Spring 2014 two were regularly seen at the pond, but by fall the resultant litters of the initial pair had also mated producing many furry critters. By summer 2015 it seemed like they were everywhere.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Nutria climbing the hillside. Although they do seem to spend most of their time in water, they feed on land.
Nutria on the move in the water.
Closer view of the rodent as it swims.
Closer view of the rodent on land displaying its characteristic large, orange front teeth.
By mid-June 2014 two little nutria emerged from the burrow in the hillside. One sits right at mom's backside while the other is on the far left of the burrown opening.
About two weeks later I saw the baby nutria in open water.
In November 2014 there were more little ones.
A lot more.
This is the same hole from the prior photo just 15 days later. The continual digging of these animals collapsed the dirt into the pond.
Here are the six "little" ones from another litter. There were now at least a dozen nutria living in the pond area.
Somehow the little ones seemed cuter when there weren't quite so many of them.
Here's one from the summer class of 2015.
All photos © S. M. Garver