Interesting article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer about the appearance of nutria (Myocastor coypus) in Seattle, Washington. Washington was just one of many states where the South American rodents were introduced as part of the fur trade, back in the mid-1900s. Now they have suddenly started popping up around Lake Washington and in other wetland habitats around Seattle, an no one is quite sure why.
The SPI report includes a handy sizing chart, comparing nutria to beaver and rats, and also a link to the Nutria of Union Bay project, an effort by University of Washington students to collect and analyze data using sightings from citizen scientists. Also, don't miss the link at the bottom of the page to the reader comments - some of them are a hoot!