(Myocastor coypus)
*Not detected in Michigan*

Report this species to:

Ryan Wheeler, DNR Invasive Species Biologist, 517-614-1501. 

If possible, please take one or more photos of the invasive species you are reporting. Also make note of the location, date and time of the observation. This will aid in verification of your report. You may be asked to provide your name and contact information if follow-up is needed.

- Or - use the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) online reporting tool 

- Or - download the MISIN smartphone app and report from your phone -



  • Dark brown fur, approximately 2 feet long
  • Large yellow or orange colored front teeth
  • Thick, rat-like tail covered with bristly hairs
  • Long white whiskers on either side of nose

US Geological Survey

Saxifraga - Jan van der Sraaten

Habitat: These semi-aquatic rodents inhabit farm ponds, drainage canals, bayous, freshwater and brackish marshes, swamps, and rivers.

Diet: Nutria’s preferred diet includes bulrush, cordgrass, roots, and rhizomes and tubers of cattails.

Native Range: South America

Local Concern: Nutria, sometimes call coypu, are hosts for several pathogens and parasites that can infect people, pets, and livestock. Eating, digging, and rooting habits cause erosion and convert healthy marsh into open water habitat. Depredation to crops is another concern regarding nutria, especially considering its relatively high reproductive rate.

U.S. Distribution: Freshwater marshes in coastal areas of the Gulf Coast States

Potential Means of Introduction: Intentional or accidental release

Native look-alikes and how you can distinguish them from Nutria:

  • American Beaver: Length of between 39 and 47 inches, no white whiskers, wide flat tail with little hair on it
  • Muskrat: Length of 16-25 inches, no white whiskers, long, rat-like tail that’s slightly flattened on the sides


Nutria Invasive Species Alert - Printable PDF