Nutria in the backyard are attracted to streams and ponds, thriving in areas with marshy soil and abundant vegetation. However, they can adapt to a number of habitats, often tearing up private property in the process.
Nutria Yard Damage
The animal's diet and denning habits can create a variety of problems for property owners:
Ruined Gardens and Grass
Although they sometimes feed on mussels and snails, nutria are mostly vegetarian. They'll chew up flower beds and vegetable gardens, specifically targeting the bottom portions of plants. Nutria in the backyard will also consume grass, creating unsightly brown swaths of land known as eat-outs.
Structural and Tripping Hazards
Nutria in backyards also tear holes in the lawn while digging burrows. These can weaken the foundations of homes, sidewalks, and roadbeds. Deep holes in the lawn also create safety hazards, as they sometimes go unnoticed until they're tripped over.
In addition, backyard swimming spots or drinking water may become contaminated with nutria droppings and urine. This is a serious problem, as their waste can carry a number of dangerous diseases and parasites:
- Tuberculosis - This bacterial infection causes fever, weight loss, breathing issues, and other painful symptoms that can last for weeks.
- Nutria Itch - After passing through nutria feces into the water, nematode eggs hatch, allowing these parasites to burrow into human flesh. The resulting rash swells and itches severely.
- Liver Flukes - These flatworm parasites reside in the liver and bile ducts of humans or animals. Symptoms include abdominal pain and fever.
Getting Rid of Nutria
When nutria in backyards dig burrows, they typically mean to stay. Multiple generations may use the same underground dens, and since the pests give birth to large litters two to three times each year, their numbers can soon become overwhelming. If nutria are a nuisance around your yard or home, call Critter Control for help from the professionals.