Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters



Also called a Coypu or River Rat, this large rodent has webbed feet and lives in ponds, wetlands and riparian areas around Salt Spring Island. The nutria resembles a rat but body length is up to 60 cm (2 feet). This aquatic South America native has a reputation for denuding stream banks and causing erosion into water courses from extensive burrowing. They are dark brown with a grey underbelly and white patches around their muzzle. They have a black tail that is round, not flattened like the muskrat. They eat vegetation, roots and small crustaceans, frogs and fish like muskrats. Females have one litter of up to 13 young each year. Native to South America, the Nutria was widely introduced to North America, Europe and Asia in the 19th century for fur production.