Nutria (Coypu): The Invasive Species


In 1985, July, several Koreans imported 100 nutrias from France for its meat and fur. Nutria meat was known to be good for human body and its fur was known to be very soft and warm, however many Koreans were disgusted by the look of the species and refused to both eat and wear them. And by 1990, these giant rats increased its number to 2,400 and soon by 2009, the Koreans called them to be one of the invasive species.

Nutrias aren’t only known as the invasive species in Korea, but all over the world. They tend to invade farms chewing up the crops and roots destroying about ten times more plants than they eat. Female nutrias give births 3-4 times a year and each time they do they give birth to about 4-5 babies at a time. That is an addition of approximately 20 nutrias a year.

Both US and Korean government had given a bounty on each Nutria people capture, however these giant rats are difficult to catch since they spend most of their times in swamps. Over time, they had gotten more aggressive and smart. In Korea, people had created a trap mainly for Nutrias, however it only worked for few years and less were being tricked by it. They were noticing what the traps were for and began to avoid any traps nearby. They have also become very aggress toward us humans, threatening us with the large orange teeth of theirs.

Their orange teeth are not random since the coloring is caused by their enamel that includes a pigment that consists of the mineral iron. The iron in the color gives their teeth a tougher texture enabling the smoother portions in the back to allow them to grind down on things more rapidly. These teeth of theirs are basically as strong to cut off a person’s finger. It would be better for people to watch out for them and try to capture as many as possible for our own good as well as for the environment.


– Jin Park


Sources: (Korean) (Korean)






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