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Worldwide Distribution, Spread of, and Efforts to Eradicate the Nutria (Myocastor coypus)

World Nutria Populations: Click on region for more information.
Click on a world region to learn more about the global spread of nutria.

Jacoby Carter
USGS National Wetlands Research Center, 700 Cajundome Blvd., Lafayette, La. 70506

The large semiaquatic rodent, the nutria (Myocastor coypus), also called coypu, has been introduced from South America to every continent except Australia and Antarctica. Although the nutria is perceived as a pest species in many regions because its feeding activity may destroy marsh vegetation and damage water control structures and crops, it is considered a valuable furbearing resource in some regions. The distribution of nutria outside its home range in South America is mainly the result of attempts to breed it for its fur. In favorable habitats nutria have often escaped and become feral. In some countries nutria have been deliberately released and managed in a semicaptive state, meaning they are not caged but placed in areas where the habitat is intensely managed for their benefit. In other countries escaped nutria have not survived in the wild. After assessing the economic and environmental burden that uncontrolled wild nutria have placed on their societies, some countries have labeled it a pest species and attempted to eradicate it. This map provides links to regional and national summaries of nutria introduction, distribution, control, and eradication. For methods about the collection of data used to create this map, see Carter, J. and Leonard, B.P., 2002, A review of the literature on the worldwide distribution, spread of, and efforts to eradicate the coypu (Myocastor coypus): Wildlife Society Bulletin, v.30, no.1, p. 162-175. The data on nutria distribution presented in Carter and Leonard (2002) have been updated in these Web pages.

Nutria Picture

A tanka form poem transliterated from Japanese:
“Shirasagi mo Sugamo mo Koi mo kechirashite,
Sasagase gawa wo Nutoria yuku.”
—Ito Shinsuke, Okayama, Japan
Asahi Shimbun, 14 April 1996

The English translation:
“Pushing away white herons, ducks, and carp,
the nutria goes his way in the River Sasagase.”



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