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Nutria (Myocastor coypus) are sizable omnivorous rodents that originally come from South America. Many live in the United States, as well. Nutria are sturdy and squat in build. Some people confuse them with beavers, although nutria aren't as large. Coypu is another name for these semi-aquatic creatures. Nutria, like many other animals, definitely have aggressive potential.
Adult nutria are usually between 17 and 25 inches long, and they usually weigh between 15 and 22 pounds. Females are usually smaller than the males, but not by a significant degree. Their coats are usually deep brown, reddish-brown or brownish-yellow. Other standout physical traits of nutria are their elongated and circular tails, short limbs, bright orange incisors and tiny eyes and ears. Their heads are substantial in size, with outlines that are reminiscent of triangles. Their tails are almost totally devoid of hair. Nutria generally lead nocturnal lives.
Nutria can definitely exhibit aggressive behaviors. When they feel trapped by people, this aspect of their behavior sometimes comes out. They can act fiercely, which often brings upon physical harm not only in human beings, but also in pets. Because of this, it's extremely important to be cautious when in the company of a nutria. If you ever spot an animal that fits the nutria's description, remember that he's indeed capable of being dangerous. Scuffles between domestics pets and nutria are common during the summertime.
Encounters with Dogs
Nutria are highly focused on territory, which often is a trigger for their truculent behavioral patterns. They occasionally fight with domestic dogs. If a canine approaches a nutria, the nutria could respond with an attack that involves a combination of scratching and biting. Dogs' injuries from nutria sometimes require stitching -- so never allow your dog anywhere close to nutria. When you walk your pooches outside, make sure they're on secure leashes. If a nutria attacks your dog, get him prompt veterinary assistance.
Not Always Aggressive
Nutria generally show their aggressive sides when they feel shut in and have no way out of frightening situations. When nutria feel bothered by people or animals, they frequently choose simply to escape the scene rather than acting out in an aggressive manner. Despite that, it's still important to always steer clear of nutria -- and to make sure young children and pets do, too.
- Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife: Nutria
- KVAL.com: When Nutria Attack! Keep Dogs Safe
- Outdoor Alabama: Nutria
- Friends of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge: Nutria Fact Sheet
- National Geographic: Nutria
- Tennessee's Watchable Wildlife: Coypu (Nutria) Introduced
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Myocastor Coypus
- IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Myocastor Coypus
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images