|Credit: Conservation Management Institute|
It was a nutria. So, naturally I had to go look into nutria, because I don't know anything about them, other than their fur makes a good lining for a rain coat. Nutria are from South America and were imported into Louisiana for fur farming in the 1930s, where naturally, they got out. According to the USGS, this is where they live now:
How they got out of wet Louisiana and all the way up to the wet Pacific North West without really getting as established anywhere else is a good mystery.
According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, nutria are really bad about burrowing into hillsides which can damage roadbeds if they're dug in the right place. I was unhappy to read that the next destructive habit listed is crop depredation, and they'll go after corn, sugar and table beets, wheat, oats, barley, melons, and a whole bunch of different garden vegetables. I don't need lose any of my winter veg, but the next thing that I read is that nutria will girdle fruit, nut, deciduous and forest trees, and ornamental shrubs. They'll pretty much girdle indiscriminately. But guess what? According to ODFW, nutria are unprotected! In fact, they are an invasive species and are classified as an unprotected Non-game Wildlife and may be shot or trapped, but not relocated. No license is needed for a landowner to control nutria on her property, and since I have numerous fruit and nut trees I don't want girdled, I am also buying a trap. A gun would be a lot faster but I don't have a gun, and I couldn't shoot it within the city limits anyway. So trap it is.
Not exactly what I planned on doing with my Sunday, but you do what you gotta do. For all the wildlife we get in our back yard, we may as well be living in the country. I paid the property tax bill this week as well, and between the uncontrolled wildlife and our uncontrollable city council, living in the country is looking better and better all the time.