Exotics Out Compete – The Nutria Risk to Wetlands

 

swamp rat
Nutria. Myocastor Coypus. Sleek of fur, orange of tooth.

South Louisiana, the Gulf Coast, the jewel-like Atchafalaya region, and agricultural land roundabouts all have a cute but troublesome visitor. Nutria (species Mycastor coypusof the kingdom, Animalia; the phylum, Chordata; the class Mammalia; the order rodentia and the suborder, Hystricognathi; family, Myocastoridae; and, of course, genus Myocastor) is a native of South America. This huge rat’s native area is from the center of Bolivia, to the south end of Brazil, and further on to Tierra del Fuego – the land of fire.

Nutria (species Mycastor coypusof the kingdom, Animalia; the phylum, Chordata; the class Mammalia; the order rodentia and the suborder, Hystricognathi; family, Myocastoridae; and, of course, genus Myocastor) is a native of South America. . .

 

Either intentionally or accidentally, decades ago nutria from ranches and fur farms, back in the first part of the twentieth century, escaped or were set free. Now, the lushly-coated, orange-toothed vegetarian rats exist in troublesome numbers outside their “normal” habitat, with large populations also living in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere in North America.

Continue reading “Exotics Out Compete – The Nutria Risk to Wetlands”

Camel Wrestling

Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul. Once one lays eyes on the magical skyline, the sight is never forgotten.

Forget that familiar, beatific, mellow picture on the cover of the cigarette pack. Put aside those lingering images of the sensuous East so popular with Victorian Orientalists. Elbowing up to the steel fence around a camel wrestling pitch in Turkey and I suppose anywhere is more like spending an afternoon with the good old boys at a NASCAR rally in the broiling sun of the American Deep South than snoozing on a divan with a plump, warm odalisque. Continue reading “Camel Wrestling”