The nutria, or Myocastor coypus, can grow to 20 pounds and 2.5 feet long, not including its tail, and the fecund rodents can destroy wetlands and flood-control systems, degrade water quality and contaminate drinking water supplies with dangerous pathogens. Louisiana encourages hunting and eating nutria, which taste like rabbit or squirrel, says Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Jennifer Manuel, but the California Department of Fish and Wildlife discourages killing them and has instead set up a hotline to report sightings.
Rodents of unusual size do exist, and they're hurting US wetlands
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