Nutria In Louisiana
When going on a swamp tour, you will most likely encounter Nutria. The animal eats plants and grass. It can weigh up to 35 to 37 lb and grow up to 4 feet long. In the 1930s, they started escaping from Louisiana fur farms. They had been imported from South America for their fur. When the fur trade collapsed, some fur farmers released the invasive species and in the 1940’s some nutria escaped during a hurricane. They quickly populated Louisiana’s swamps and coastal marshes.
A Threat To Our Environment
The species poses a threat to the local environment. Nutrias love making tunnels (burrowing) and this is how they weaken drainage canals and levees in Louisiana. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries estimates that nutria estimate that approximately 16,424 acres of wetlands were impacted by nutria as of April 2018. Nutria cause extensive damage to marsh vegetation since they tend to eat not just the leaves, but the entire plants. The department issues permits to hunt nutria and will even pay permit holders $6 per nutria tail. The program season runs Nov 20 – Mar 31. To learn more about the program and apply for a permit click here: http://www.nutria.com/site11.php.
Participation in the program requires a trapping license, completion of the CNCP application, and designation of property or properties to be harvested along with landowner information and signature. Public properties are available and instructions for registering these properties is in the application packet (see below links). All registered properties must be within the program boundary area which is all of coastal Louisiana, bounded on the north by Interstate-10 from the Texas state line to Baton Rouge, I-12 from Baton Rouge to Slidell, and I-10 again from Slidell to the Mississippi state line.