Female nutria become sexually mature after three to nine months and produce litters of up to 11 babies. They are typically born in burrows and enter the world with furry coats ranging in color from reddish brown to black.
Born with their eyes open, nutria young have the ability to swim within a few hours after birth. In fact, babies are able to nurse while their mother is in the water. They are ready to live on their own at around six months old.
Damage from Baby Nutria
Because baby nutria are able to dig and feed on vegetation quickly after being born, even a new litter is capable of damaging landscaping and destroying ditch and river banks. Their burrows ruin flood-control areas, which can lead to water damage in homes, weakened foundations, and a decrease in overall water quality.
Just like their parents, young nutria are a health concern. These aquatic rodents carry pathogens and parasites in their waste that can contaminate water. People and pets may become infected and suffer serious medical complications.
Prevention and Control
Preventing nutria from causing yard damage can seem like a daunting task, though there are small steps homeowners can take to dissuade them. Some examples of control include:
- Closing off gardens by using fences or other barriers
- Protecting specific plants, such as cypress and tree seedlings, by using wire tubing
- Creating barriers around bodies of water to prevent nutria from burrowing
Though these prevention methods may discourage some young nutria, the growing rodents are persistent in their pursuit of food. To best protect homes and yards from their destructive habits, contact the wildlife experts at Critter Control.