by Kevin O’Connor
Remember Anacapa! To rid Anacapa of Rattus rattus(rats), officials had a helicopter shower one-square-mile of the island with poisonous green pellets. A 25-ppm brodifacoum bait was aerially applied to East Anacapa in December 2001, and to Middle and West Anacapa Island in November 2002. No rats have been detected anywhere on Anacapa since the application.
Remember, rats almost destroyed all the native species, but rodenticides saved the indigenous species and the endangered island’s red fox. Lest we forget our history, if not kept in check by pest control professionals, rats would eventually cause another Black Plague.
Nutria rodent (Myocastor coypus) is a large, fur-bearing, aquatic rodent, light to dark brown. Though common in freshwater, nutria also inhabit brackish coastal water areas.
Nutria are distinguished from beavers and muskrats by their long, white whiskers and rounded tails; beavers and muskrats have black whiskers and flattened tails. Nutria breed year-round, producing up to 3 litters per year, with 2-13 young per litter. This destructive aquatic rodent has invaded California.
They can consume up to 25% of their body weight in above- and below-ground vegetation each day, but they waste and destroy up to 10 times as much, causing extensive damage to the native plant community and soil structure, as well as significant losses to nearby agricultural crops.
Nutria also serve as hosts for tuberculosis and septicemia, which are threats to humans, livestock, and pets. Additionally, nutria carry tapeworms, a nematode that causes a rash known as “nutria itch”, and blood and liver flukes, which can contaminate swimming areas and drinking water supplies.
Double trouble lurks everywhere when rodents are on the roam. If you suspect nutria invasion or are having trouble with rats and other rodents, call the professionals. Do not attempt to handle disease-bearing rodents on your own. O’Connor Pest Control 1-800-284-7985, www.oconnorpest.com.