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Old 07-08-2018, 12:18 PM
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Identify this rodent

I saw this animal on a grassy lawn a few feet from a small stream in Eugene Oregon. It looked rather like a rat, but it was much too large to be a black rat or Norwegian rat. I was about 50 feet from it so it's hard to be sure, but I'd say it was at least 16 inches long without the tail, the size of a large cat or small dog. It had long white whiskers while the rest of its coat was dark. I think the tail was covered in short fur but it's possible it was hairless like a rat's. It seemed to be eating grass, but maybe it was picking out clover or something else. It looked wet, like it had just climbed out of the stream.

Last edited by markn+; 07-08-2018 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 07-08-2018, 12:21 PM
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It's a Nutria, introduced from South America.

I wasn't aware they were in Oregon.
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Old 07-08-2018, 12:25 PM
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It's a Nutria, introduced from South America.

I wasn't aware they were in Oregon.
Thick in Western Oregon ... and a serious problem ... they occupy the niche normally occupied by beavers, which is Oregon's state animal ...

Typical situation, fur-farmers brought them in, fur prices crash, just open the cages ... now they're everywhere ...

I always thought they looked like small beavers with just a different tail ... my cats are terrified of them ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 07-08-2018 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 07-08-2018, 12:31 PM
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I made a night delivery down to a factory outside Eugene that has a protected pond and wetland on the premises and the guy in the guardshack warned me to watch out for nutria on the road--and he was NOT kidding around. I saw probably 20 or so just on the short drive to the loading dock and it was kinda freaky because I'd never seen the critters before and they do look like giant rats. I've also seen a family of beaver crossing a street in Eastmoreland (neighborhood in Portland) and they were actually using the crosswalk.
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Old 07-08-2018, 12:39 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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I've heard they're good to eat.
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Old 07-08-2018, 12:45 PM
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They are definitely here. It's more than a little disappointing to hike up to the beaver dam off of a trail and find a nutria sunning itself.

Last edited by Sunny Daze; 07-08-2018 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 07-08-2018, 02:47 PM
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Rodents of unusual size? I don't believe they exist.
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Old 07-08-2018, 04:19 PM
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Ees no rrat, ees Siberrian hamsterr!
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Old 07-08-2018, 04:34 PM
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My pet rats have had a grudge against Basil Fawlty since that episode.

Thanks for the replies. I agree that it was certainly a nutria that I saw.
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Old 07-08-2018, 04:38 PM
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If it makes y'all feel better, there was a tourist attraction in Ocala, FL (Silver Springs), that had alligator pens, of course, and to make the gators do tricks--and also for feeding--they would band-saw a frozen Nutria in half and suspend it over the gators. Fun, fun, fun.

They're in Oregon? I'm flabbergasted.
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Old 07-08-2018, 05:02 PM
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Identify this rodent
That’s Bill.
  #12  
Old 07-08-2018, 05:44 PM
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When I saw the thread title, before I clicked into the first post, I knew it was a nutria.
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Old 07-08-2018, 05:52 PM
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I'm not sure why, but in my family somehow "nutria" got changed to "nutrient" and now we say it that way all the time unless we're expecting to be understood. It amuses us.
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Old 07-08-2018, 06:03 PM
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We occasionally point them out to the gullible and call them beavers. Eventually the tails are noticed, and we have to explain ourselves. Eventually.
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Old 07-08-2018, 06:21 PM
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They're in Oregon? I'm flabbergasted.
California is under siege! Apparently they were presumed eradicated here in the 1960's, but they have returned to wreck their vengeance on the CA waterways.
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Old 07-08-2018, 06:22 PM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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aka coypu.

Yep, Washington, Oregon, the eastern seaboard, and particularly Louisiana (millions of them), among other places. Their burrows and plant consumption are detrimental to plants and animals, as well as causing soil erosion.

I recently learned about the efforts in the Blackwater NWR, eastern Maryland, that almost completely wiped them out.
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Old 07-08-2018, 09:54 PM
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Darn sure I saw them in Texas two years ago; Port Aransas area (Gulf Coast near Corpus Christi).
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:18 PM
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They are in the resaca around Brownsville in Texas.
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Old 07-08-2018, 10:38 PM
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They eat them in Louisiana. Mr.Wrekker has been on a hunt for them in Houma,La., after Katrina they were everywhere down there. He did say he didn't eat any cause they live in sewers and nasty bilge water. They swim like fishes.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:21 AM
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They eat them in Louisiana.
Wonder how the taste compares to Cane Rat. Delicious, tender Cane Rat...
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:07 AM
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Wonder how the taste compares to Cane Rat.
Not cane rat, but here is a nutria taste test.
  • Nutria Snack Stix: 'Overall, what you're
    going to notice on the first bite is a strong smoky natural meat flavor, but one that is well countered by the Cajun seasonings and a moderate amount
    of heat that builds up with each chew.'
  • Nutria Cajun Sausage: 'These chunky links tasted wild and exotic... One of us thought it tasted like a morgue, while another tasted a hint of
    walnuts.'
  • Nutria Jambalaya: 'It really shined in this dish as it easily took on all of the
    spices & flavors associated with Louisiana cooking. The long simmer and slow cooking time resulted in a soft, moist meat and a jambalaya with a
    light tanginess and a smoky background in each bite.'
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:30 AM
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I'm not comfortable with the idea of eating rodents.

Then again, I used to love frog-legs until a muscle physiology researcher studying the gastrocnemius muscle of frogs told me that half of his preps had to be discarded due to too many parasite cysts in the muscle.

Nutria. Tastes like rabbit or squirrel?
  #23  
Old 07-09-2018, 11:13 AM
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I like squirrel, tasted nutria once at a primitive event I was attending. I didn't care for it. I thought it had a strong taste.
  #24  
Old 07-09-2018, 11:33 AM
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I like squirrel, tasted nutria once at a primitive event I was attending. I didn't care for it. I thought it had a strong taste.
You're trying to throw us off your trail, aren't you? What does honey badger taste like?

Nutria sounds like an artificial sweetener.
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:31 PM
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Beaver is supposed to be delicious.

The animal I mean, if you have to make a joke make sure it's one we haven't heard before.
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:04 PM
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Beaver is supposed to be delicious.

The animal I mean, if you have to make a joke make sure it's one we haven't heard before.
It's not. Dry, hard and tastes like aspirin; actually, I wonder if it might taste of aspirin, since a great part of their diet is salix bark.
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:54 PM
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  • [...]
  • Nutria Cajun Sausage: 'These chunky links tasted wild and exotic... One of us thought it tasted like a morgue, while another tasted a hint of
    walnuts.'
    [...]
Morgue? Well, that just raises all kinds of questions. I definitely won't be trying nutria anytime soon.
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:55 PM
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It's not. Dry, hard and tastes like aspirin; actually, I wonder if it might taste of aspirin, since a great part of their diet is salix bark.
I've never eaten castor oil, but I'll guess that it wasn't properly de-glanded.
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Old 07-09-2018, 06:24 PM
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I saw a nutria swimming in a waterway in Buenos Aires. I said to the tour guide, Hey, there's a nutria! She told me I was wrong because there were no nutria in BA and I must have seen something else. However, there are and it was. Oregon has nutria, beaver, and otter, so we get good at sorting them out.
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:23 PM
thelurkinghorror thelurkinghorror is offline
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I saw a nutria swimming in a waterway in Buenos Aires. I said to the tour guide, Hey, there's a nutria! She told me I was wrong because there were no nutria in BA and I must have seen something else. However, there are and it was. Oregon has nutria, beaver, and otter, so we get good at sorting them out.
Well, they call them "coypu" or "coipo," "nutria" is a word for otter down there. But yes, they're native to that part of the world.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:40 PM
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Yep, it's a Nutria. I have killed scores of them over the years. Yes they can be eaten and there may come a time in my life when I have to eat them to survive....but that time ain't now, so I'll pass.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:24 PM
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We call them muskrats in Minnesota - is it the same thing?
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:52 PM
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We call them muskrats in Minnesota - is it the same thing?
No - muskrats are smaller and native. It's a very interesting parallel though, since it has also been widely introduced for its fur outside of its native range and it too is also pesty and damaging in some of those areas.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 07-10-2018 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:26 PM
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We call them muskrats in Minnesota - is it the same thing?
Nutria are about 3 times the size of the largest muskrat. There is a small population in Minnesota but you are probably actually seeing muskrats.
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Old 07-10-2018, 02:25 PM
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I've heard they're good to eat.
From what I learned on "Seinfeld" though, they make terrible hats.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:51 AM
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No - muskrats are smaller and native. It's a very interesting parallel though, since it has also been widely introduced for its fur outside of its native range and it too is also pesty and damaging in some of those areas.
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Nutria are about 3 times the size of the largest muskrat. There is a small population in Minnesota but you are probably actually seeing muskrats.
OK - I googled them. I see the difference now. I have to say our muskrats are much cuter!

It says Nutria are native to South America. How the heck did they get way up into NW US?
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:56 AM
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It says Nutria are native to South America. How the heck did they get way up into NW US?
They were introduced for their fur. Fur farming of nutria was popular in the 1930s but the market collapsed in the 1940s and many captive nutria were released, where they bred successfully.
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:48 PM
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OK -
It says Nutria are native to South America. How the heck did they get way up into NW US?
I guess they migrated up the rivers. I remember seeing them in Texas as far back as 1967-68. I used to hunt them along the San Jacinto, Trinity, and Neches rivers.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:10 PM
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I guess they migrated up the rivers. I remember seeing them in Texas as far back as 1967-68. I used to hunt them along the San Jacinto, Trinity, and Neches rivers.
They didn't get to Oregon from Texas. They were introduced separately to Louisiana, Oregon, the Chesapeake Bay, and probably other places.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:22 AM
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They didn't get to Oregon from Texas. They were introduced separately to Louisiana, Oregon, the Chesapeake Bay, and probably other places.
What, you haven't seen photos of nutria families, with all their possessions loaded on some rickety car, taking Route 66 from Amarillo to the West Coast in the 30s?
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:30 AM
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Why can't we have invasive capybara? I'd welcome capybara overlords.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:20 AM
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Capybara are too "zen" to bother with the overlord business.

When you're the world's largest rodent, you got nuthin' to prove.
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:08 PM
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There's some capybara in Florida. Not many.
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:55 PM
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There's some capybara in Florida. Not many.
True statement for most states if we do not exclude zoo specimens.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:02 PM
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Why can't we have invasive capybara? I'd welcome capybara overlords.
They are slowly spreading northwards through Panama. They should be in Texas within a century of so.

And back during the Pleistocene, a Giant Capybara lived in the southern US.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:40 PM
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And back during the Pleistocene, a Giant Capybara lived in the southern US.
His name was Thibodeaux. Good fella, but he had a weakness for gin...
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:48 PM
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True statement for most states if we do not exclude zoo specimens.
There's kayakers in Death Valley if you count all the people who buy flights through kayak.com
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:06 PM
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There's a bunch of them that hang out in Portland at the Eastmoreland Golf Course, mostly around the pond by the 17th hole. I enjoyed taking my never-seen-one-in-his-life brother there and waiting for him to notice them when he was on the tee. He did. I pretended not to see them.
  #49  
Old 07-12-2018, 07:36 PM
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There's kayakers in Death Valley if you count all the people who buy flights through kayak.com
You can kayak in Death Valley if you time it right. In a really wet year Lake Manly gets just deep enough to paddle around a bit: Kayak on Lake Manly
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:08 PM
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You can kayak in Death Valley if you time it right. In a really wet year Lake Manly gets just deep enough to paddle around a bit: Kayak on Lake Manly
Lake Manly? I would think the primary water sport there is lumberjacks jousting with sharks.
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