nutria sightings
Michael Probst/AP

California Launches Hotline for Residents to Report Nutria Sightings

They thought nutria were eradicated from California a long time ago. 

Quick! If you live in California and you think you have had a few unexplained nutria sightings, there's a number you need to call to let the authorities know. How would you know what a nutria looks like? Well, they're generally a little longer than 2 feet, and weigh up to 20 pounds, resembling a big woodchuck. The odds are good that you know if you've seen one. These highly invasive, marshy rodents can take over an area pretty quickly, so California wants to get out on top of this.

"We have no idea how many there are or how they were reintroduced," Peter Tira of the CDFW said in an interview. "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."

Currently, nutria sightings have only occurred in three counties. So, authorities are focusing all their efforts in these specific areas to once again eradicate the rodents before they continue to spread. According to reports, nutria can produce as many as 300 offspring.

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Trying to keep these swamp rats in check is going to be tough, but California did it before, so hopefully they can do it again.

To report a sighting, contact the CDFW.