Termite Inspection Orange County Termite Terry Pest Control

Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, South Orange County, Long Beach Area

Giant Rats Invading California. Should We Start Eating Them?

Giant rats that are about the size of a beagle have now been spotted in Merced, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Fresno counties. These gigantic rats are called “nutria” and they can quickly turn a lush green marsh into a wasteland.

Nutria look similar to beavers. Adults have a body that is 2 feet long, they weigh 15-20 pounds, and their tails are 1-1½ feet long. Once introduced, nutria populations increase rapidly. They can produce their first litter by 8 months of age, they breed year-round, and have up to three litters per year, with 2-13 young per litter.

No one knows how these nutria got there. They were thought to have been eradicated from California back in the 1970s.

California officials are very concerned of the millions of dollars in damage these animals can cause. Nutria are burrowers, and they frequently cause water retention and flood control levees to breech. They consume up to 25% of their body weight in vegetation each day and waste up to 10 times as much, causing extensive damage to native plants and the soil structure. Nutria are hosts for tuberculosis and septicemia, which are threats to humans, livestock, and pets. They also carry tapeworms, which can contaminate swimming areas and drinking water.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to tackle this problem in California. They are asking that $10 million dollars be set aside to fund an invasive species program.

Another suggestion to control this pest would be to eat them. Did you know that you can feed four to six people with the meat from just one nutria? Some say that the meat taste like white chicken, and that it has a very mild flavor. Do any of you want to join me for a “filet de rat” dinner? On second thought, you can go for dinner tonight without me!