Nutria threaten habitat and coastline (More)

Louisiana is shrinking, thanks to giant swamp rats

When it comes to invasive species, Louisiana may have Florida and its giant snails beat: The state’s beloved swampland is literally vanishing at the hands of gigantic swamp rats.

Nutria—described by a documentarian tracking the creatures as “a cross between a beaver and a New York sewer rat”—are booming in the area, and they’re partly to blame for heavy coastal erosion. They devour the plants needed to hold down the soil, and with some 5 million of them now inhabiting Louisiana’s southern coast, they’re contributing to a rate of soil erosion pegged at 40 square miles a year.

See more: Nutria, Eating Louisiana’’s Coast

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