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IN SHORT: The best way to get rid of nutria is with trapping. Live traps, leg snares, large body grip traps, etc. It is not easy, and not for amateurs.
Nutrias are semi-aquatic rodents that were brought to North America from South America because of their valuable fur. However, once their fur fell out of vogue in the 1940’s they were released into the wild to wreak havoc on our lawns. Nutrias are larger rodents that can be 20 pounds and a foot long when they are adults. You can recognize a nutria by its 3 layered coat of fur of different colors, it’s extremely long facial whiskers and long orange/red teeth. Nutrias live in burrows that they dig and eat a vegetarian diet, which is what makes them a nuisance also.
Nutrias are considered pests because they are not a part of the normal ecosystem, but was unnaturally introduced, which technically makes them an invasive species. Nutrias eat a strict vegetarian diet that mainly consists of water plants such as cattails, spike rush, sawgrasses and reeds, but they will also make a snack out of sugary plants like alfalfa, wheat, corn, sugarcane and rice. This creates an enormous problem for gardeners and farmers because these critters will eat more than they need and can destroy a large portion of valuable food crops. These creatures can also create a problem for dams and water banks as they will burrow into these banks or construct their homes in dams. If there is a large population of nutria in an area, it can destroy or collapse a water bank and disrupt the water flow of a dam. If you have problems with nutria, here are some suggestions to get rid of these pests.
• Trapping is an effective way to get rid of nutria, but it requires a lot of patience and time, especially if there is a large population. You can use a live double door trap to catch them with some carrots in there as bait or you can use a leg hold trap. You can get a leg hold trap from an online supplier or from a garden store. For nutria, you want to get a #2 or #11 trap. Check your traps everyday and it is recommended that you dispose of them in a humane manner as they are not native to North America and are invasive.
• Poisons are another way to effectively get rid of nutria. Place the poison near their burrows or near the places you don’t want them to be. However, be careful to place the poison in an area where another innocent animal will not eat it and die or where your pets or children can come into contact with it.
• Releasing predators into the area is also a great way to control the nutria population. You can release 2 or 3 garter snakes (if you don’t mind having them around) and they will clear out the population of baby nutria in a few months and then they will leave once there is no more food available. You can also attract predator birds like hawks and owls by constructing nesting boxes for them. This is not a guarantee of course, but it can’t hurt either.
• The best way to get rid of nutria is to call a professional pest removal service. These professionals know just how to get rid of them in a safe and effective manner. This is not the most cost-effective way to deal with your critter problem, but it is worth the little money you will spend to not lose your garden or crops. Plus, when you hire a professional, you do not have to deal with the mess of trapping them or poisoning them and then having to get rid of them.