Nutria Facts

Nutria Facts
Nutria, also known as coypu, is a species of rodent that is native to South America. This animal has been introduced to Europe, Asia and North America in the previous century because of its luxurious fur and potentially lucrative business associated with it. A lot of animals managed to escape from the farms and to conquer new habitats, such as swamps, wetlands, river mouths and drainage canals. Nutria can survive in all ecosystems that provide enough water. Due to high reproduction rate, nutrias act like invasive species that disturb natural balance in ecosystems. Nutria is not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Nutria Facts:
Nutria can reach 14 inches in length and 16 to 18 pounds in weight. It has 12 to 17 inches long tail.
Nutria is covered with two types of fur. Outer coat is made of shaggy hair that can be yellow or brown in color. Next layer is made of fine, grey fur. This type of fur was very popular in fashion industry couple of decades ago.
Nutria looks like a small beaver with long whiskers, short legs and hairless tail.
Nutria has long incisors that are yellow to orange or orange to red in color.
Nutria has five fingers on front and hind feet. All fingers except one on the front feet have long nails. Webbed hind feet represent adaptation to the life near the water.
Nutria has valves in mouth and nose that close automatically when animal dives. They prevent water from entering the stomach and lungs.
Nutria is semi-aquatic creature. That means that it spends half of its life in the water. Nutria is excellent swimmer that can spend 5 minutes under water without returning to the surface to breathe. Females can breastfeed their young during the swimming session.
Nutria digs burrows near the water or uses platforms made of dead vegetation to sleep, eat and reproduce.
Nutria is nocturnal animal (active during the night). It is mostly active around midnight.
Nutria is vegetarian that eats grass, roots, rhizomes and all kind of water plants. It will invade plantations of sugarcane, corn and rice whenever possible.
Nutria has huge appetite. It can eat 25% of its own weight every day.
Nutria mates throughout the whole year. Male has a harem composed of 2 to 3 females.
Pregnancy in females lasts around 130 days and ends with usually 4 to 5 babies. Young nutrias are covered with fur from the moment of birth. Babies normally drink mother's milk during the first 8 weeks of their life, but they can survive on their own 5 days after birth if necessary.
Females are able to reproduce 48h after delivering of babies. They have couple of litters each year, ensuring large number of nutria in the wild.
Nutria can survive between 8 and 10 years in the wild.

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