A Texas Size Rat

They say everything is bigger in Texas. And after seeing this rodent, I’m likely to believe it. Although this “Nutria” or “Coypu” is a probably closer to a beaver or otter in habits, it sure looks like a big rat. 

Nutria are large, web-footed rodents that are more agile in the water than on land. They live in burrows, or nests, never far from the water. Nutria may inhabit a riverbank or lakeshore, or dwell in the midst of wetlands. They are strong swimmers and can remain submerged for as long as five minutes.

Nutria (also called coypu) are varied eaters, most fond of aquatic plants and roots. They also feast on small creatures such as snails or mussels.

Nutria can be rather social animals and sometimes live in large colonies, reproducing prolifically.  

This nutria was one of many in McGovern Lake  in Hermann Park in Houston. They would swim along the ducks, who weren’t bothered by them at all. Even the large coy fish in the lake didn’t make a fuss when swam by overhead.
 

This nutria was one of many in McGovern Lake  in Hermann Park in Houston. They would swim along the ducks, who weren't bothered by them at all. Even the large coy fish in the lake didn't make a fuss when swam by overhead. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

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