California officials set up invasive swamp rodent hotline


California has a giant rodent problem.

To clarify, it’s not that California has a huge problem with run-of-the-mill rats, it’s that the state has an emerging problem with jumbo-sized critters.

Nutria, otherwise called Myocaster coypus, were thought to have been eradicated from the state’s wetlands and rivers as far back as 1965 but they have mysteriously reappeared in three counties over the last year, California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Peter Tira told NPR.

And now the department is calling on residents to help track the animal to get an accurate count on the size of the latest infestation.

“We have no idea how many there are or how they were re-introduced,” Tira said. “We don’t know if someone set one loose or if there was an isolated population out there that we didn’t know about. But we do know we have to get rid of them.”

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