Appearance: looks like a large, brown rat, average adult weight is 12 to 16 pounds, webbed hind feet, 20 teeth (the 4 huge front teeth are orange), whiskers are 4 inches long, oil glands near the mouth, which are used to waterproof the fur, mammary glands on the sides, so infants can nurse while the mother swims
Reproduction: sexual maturity at 5 1/2 months, 2 litters per year, average litter size is 5, females are only capable of producing 6 litters in a lifetime
Food habits: vegetarian, eats aquatic plants such as cattail, duck-weed, and hyacinth
Habits: den is shared by a dominant male and 2 or 3 females and their offspring
Distribution: throughout Louisiana, coastal areas of Texas, Mississippi and Florida, N. Carolina, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Alabama, & Georgia
Habitat: swamps, marshes, rivers, lakes, streams, back waters. They dig burrows for dens in levees and streambanks; in marshes and swamps they rest on platforms of vegetation built above water.
Controls: prey of alligators, cottonmouths, hawks, owls and eagles; parasites include flatworms, roundworms, fleas, and lice
Values: usually have a negative impact on other wildlife species and often over-harvest edible plants resulting in "eat-outs", burrowing causes problemswith dams, dikes, and levees; roundworms can infest the water where nutria swim and then be passed on to humans
Range map credits: Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy—Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International—CABS, World Wildlife Fund—US, and Environment Canada—WILDSPACE.
Louisiana Fur Advisory Council