Nutria, the beaver-like rodents from South America, are on the rise again in some Portage Bay and Lake Washington areas. They were introduced to Washington and Oregon in the 1930s for fur production, but like many such experiments they got wild and “went wild” breeding and multiplying outside of fur trappers’ control. Considering that their natural predators include alligators and caiman, no wonder they do fairly well here!

Nutria can be trapped and exterminated, which some folks are doing since they can act like moles and tear up valuable shoreline. Some government agencies are looking to get more involved in a wider and more coordinated program to rid the area of this non-native species, but those plans are in the early formative stages.

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