Jones County man finds Nutria rat in yard - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Jones County man finds Nutria rat in yard

The rat was found in a Myrick man's front yard. Source: Bill O'Neill The rat was found in a Myrick man's front yard. Source: Bill O'Neill
JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) -

A Myrick man woke up Thursday morning to what he thought was a 20 pound beaver laying dead in his front yard. 

"I have lived here for 40 years and have never seen anything like it," said Bill O'Neill. "We guess the dogs got to it." 

O'Neill said he was thrown off by the beaver's tail, so he decided to Google the animal just in case. 

"It said it was some kind of rat," O'Neill said. 

The giant rodent in O'Neill's yard was indeed a rat, according to Alligator and Furbearer Program Coordinator Ricky Flynt with the Mississippi Wildlife Fisheries and Parks.

It is called a Nutria Rat, and Flynt said they are in every corner of Mississippi counties. 

"If you are near a body of water you are a near a Nutria rat," Flynt said. 

According to Flynt, the Nutria rat is not native to North America. The rodent was brought to Louisiana from South America in the 1930s and farmed in enclosures for their fur. 

Flynt said a hurricane destroyed most of the nutria farms, and many escaped into the wild. 

"They have a very prolific reproduction habit, very much like rats," Flynt said. "They are sexually mature at four months old and will perform a minimum of four pups a litter." 

Flynt said the animal is classified as a nuisance, and they do cause extensive damage in aquatic habitats. 

"They are foraging on native vegetation, burrowing into the banks of levees and causing damage to ponds rivers and streams," said Flynt. 

Although the animal looks menacing, Flynt said Nutria are tame animals. 

"They don't carry any diseases of concern, and they aren't dangerous," said Flynt. "They are somewhat tolerant of human activity." 

As far as what to do if you run into a Nutria, Flynt had one piece of advice. 

"Get rid of them," Flynt said. 

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries encourage anyone who encounters a Nutria to take action due to their reproductive nature. 

"You can hunt Nutria all year round, we encourage it," Flynt said. 

Nutria can be found in and near any body of water. They have a file tale and webbed feet, according to Flynt. 

"There is no market for their fur right now, but they have expanded across the country," said Flynt. "They are all the way up the East Coast and some are even in Washington State." 

To learn more about Nutria rats, click here. 

Copyright WDAM 2017. All rights reserved. 

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • Miss Hospitality crowns new winner

    Miss Hospitality crowns new winner

    Sunday, July 22 2018 12:27 AM EDT2018-07-22 04:27:55 GMT
    A farewell brunch was held for the 2018 Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant at USM Saturday. Photo credit WDAM.A farewell brunch was held for the 2018 Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant at USM Saturday. Photo credit WDAM.

    Saturday morning, contestants in the 68th annual Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant gathered at the University of Southern Mississippi for one last social event before the final competition.  

    More >>

    Saturday morning, contestants in the 68th annual Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant gathered at the University of Southern Mississippi for one last social event before the final competition.  

    More >>
  • breaking

    Missing/Endangered Child Alert for 4-year-old Clarksdale boy

    Missing/Endangered Child Alert for 4-year-old Clarksdale boy

    Sunday, July 22 2018 12:04 AM EDT2018-07-22 04:04:33 GMT

    The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has issued a Missing/Endangered Child Alert for four-year-old William Holley III of Clarksdale. He was last seen Saturday at approximately 11:45 a.m. near the Hampton Inn and McDonald's on Highway 49 South in Clarksdale, in Coahoma County. 

    More >>

    The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has issued a Missing/Endangered Child Alert for four-year-old William Holley III of Clarksdale. He was last seen Saturday at approximately 11:45 a.m. near the Hampton Inn and McDonald's on Highway 49 South in Clarksdale, in Coahoma County. 

    More >>
  • Players of the Pine Belt: Sacred Heart's Garrett Crowder

    Players of the Pine Belt: Sacred Heart's Garrett Crowder

Powered by Frankly