Animal Review on the Nutria

Animal Review passes witty judgment on earth's various fauna. Today: the nutria, a 22-pound rodent overrunning the Mississippi delta.

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To say that nutria are fugitives is no exaggeration. Since their introduction to New Orleans in the 1930s, the city has been chasing them well into the depths of obsession. In Jefferson Parish, which is particularly at risk to weakened canals, nutria have been hunted by nearly every means and every person, with the possible exception of Tommy Lee Jones.

Over the years, a host of creative measures have been tried. They’ve tracked nutria down with trained terriers, gassed their burrows, floated poison-laced fruit down the canals, issued a $5-per-tail bounty to the general public, encouraged Steven Seagal to eat them, and even sent the SWAT snipers after them. No joke. The Jefferson Parish SWAT and sheriff teams actually hunt nutria with spot lights and scoped rifles as a matter of public policy. If you don’t now love New Orleans, you never will.

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