Rodents of Unusual Size

Nutria sounds like a sweetener but is actually a disgusting rodent…of unusual size. It looks like a rat but it’s the size of a beaver. The orange-toothed critter is native to South America but was unfortunately introduced to Louisiana by fur by fur trappers. People made good money hunting them for pelts until the fur trade collapsed in the 80s and nobody wanted to wear rat anymore.

desktop_small_fwah_ROUSpostcard_FRONTv2_3In North America, the nutria’s only predators were humans. Without hunting, the nutria have multiplied terribly. Now this invasive species has overrun the land, its destructive eating and burrowing habits eroding coastline and eating up swamp land valuable for its protection against hurricanes.

Rodents of Unusual Size is about the good people of Louisiana and their initiative to save their land and their livelihoods from the dreaded nutria. The government has put a $5 on their heads – er – their tails, actually. It’s a popular and effective measure, though the buckets of monstrous rat tails left me a little squeamish. Directors Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler, and Jeff Springer assemble a curious cast of characters to tell their story, including off-season shrimpers, students paying their college tuition, and gruff women who do it better. But it’s fisherman Thomas who will win your heart. He’s been battered by all the elements his land could throw at him, and he’s determined to survive this one as well. Man vs. beast: it’s a classic match-up, and it’s playing as part of the Planet In Focus Film Festival.

This is a surprisingly endearing documentary, as easily digested as a nutria kabob. I highly suggest you check it out – for the slice of life, the bit of trivia, the satisfaction of a well-turned documentary.

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Rodents of Unusual Size

  1. Manja Mexi Movie

    Wow, sounds fascinating but I’m not sure I’ll be watching it because we’ve got nutrias over here too (southern Tuscany in Italy) and not that I’m exactly fond of them but they are like… the boar. In hunting, I’m on their side. Luckily, most of the land over here belongs to a nature reserve. They and the flamingos and other aviators share the lagoon in the winter and it’s peace.

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  2. Christopher

    This sounds fun even though nutrias kinda creep me out. And it prompted me to go look up the origins of the name which I’ve always wondered about. Apparently it comes from the Castilian Spanish for “otter”, which is terrible because otters are adorable.
    A better name for the nutria is “coypu” since they shit on everything.

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