The nutria is a large rodent, almost the size of a beaver. It has a long, rounded and scaly tail, webbed feet and orange teeth. It is usually reddish brown in color.
The nutria’s natural range is in South America. They tend to prefer partially acquatic lives, choosing to inhabit areas near swamps, marshes and the shores of rivers or lakes. They like both salt and fresh water.
Nutria are docile, nocturnal animals. They eat both aquatic and semiacquatic vegetation, including cattails, reeds and sedges. At times, they will also feed on shellfish or cabbage, if given the opportunity. Their presence is usually noted by trails of cut up vegetation and feces or shallow burrows near the water’s edge.
The nutria breeds year round, producing two to three litters each year. Each litter averages from two to 11 young, which are born fully furred with eyes open. They can live up to 12 years old.