Wild Fact #515 – Time for a Swim? – Nutria

Photo by Petar Miloševi? (Wikimedia)

Here we are at the beginning of another great week (or the end of another weekend) and I hope you all had an amazing time. I spent a good portion of my weekend lying on my stomach underneath my parents gazebo digging holes. Now I know you are jealous since this sounds incredibly thrilling. Luckily you can always find the good in any activity you are doing. The good that came out my weekend fun is a fact about a burrowing animal. You get it? I was pretty much burrowing all weekend so I can actually relate to today’s awesome animal, the Nutria. It isn’t often that I would compare myself to a large, semi-aquatic rodent but it does seem fitting in this case. Okay, enough of my chit chat, let’s learn about the Nutria, which is also known as the Coypu.

As I mentioned, the Nutria is a large semi-aquatic rodent that can usually be found hanging out in burrows near the water. In fact, they will never live far from the water and in some cases will actually live in the middle of a wetland complex. I guess they know the value of a waterfront home in today’s economy. As you would expect, these rodents are strong swimmers and can remain submerged for as long as 5 minutes. Unlike most other rodents, the Coypu has webbed feet, which obviously help with that whole swimming part of their lifestyle.

Photo from Wikimedia

When they aren’t hanging out in the water looking for aquatic vegetation and invertebrates to feed on, they can usually be found socializing with family and friends. The Nutria tends to be a very social animal and will often live in large colonies. It is a good thing they don’t mind being around other rodents since these particular creatures will typically have large families. With a gestation period of only 130 days, the Coypu will have 2 litters and be pregnant with the 3rd every year. Each litter can have as many as 13 young, although the average is around 5.  As well, the female is ready to mate again within a day of giving birth. These animals are definitely designed to have large families.

Nutria Fast Fact – The Nutria isn’t the only rodent that likes to play in the water; however, they are a little different than the beaver and the muskrat as they have a round, slightly hairy tail. For your information, the Nutria is smaller than a beaver but larger than the muskrat. I guess you can say they are the happy medium when it comes to aquatic rodents.

That does it for today. I hope you enjoyed the fact and I will see you back here tomorrow.

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  1. Hailey 7 years ago
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