ETYM Native name.
Aquatic South American rodent resembling a small beaver; bred for its fur; SYN. nutria, Myocastor coypus.
S American webbed-footed rodent, and its fur; nutria.
Another name for nutria.
Coypu; its fur; browny-gray color.
Or coypu South American water rodent Myocastor coypus, about 60 cm/2 ft long and weighing up to 9 kg/20 lb. It has a scaly, ratlike tail, webbed hind feet, a blunt, muzzled head, and large, orange incisors. The fur is reddish brown. It feeds on vegetation and lives in burrows in river and lake banks.
Taken to Europe and then to North America to be farmed for their fur, many escaped or were released and became established, often to the detriment of native species. Escaped nutria in Louisiana were trapped for their fur, which controlled their numbers until trapping became unprofitable. Ecologists 1993 developed a program to control the millions of nutria causing serious damage to Louisiana's coastal marsh.