Louisiana Nutria Rodeo Wrangles 1,900 Swamp Rats

About 200 hunters brought in some 1,900 nutria, also known as swamp rats, in the annual Nutria Rodeo in Louisiana.

Louisiana Nutria Rodeo Wrangles 1,900 Swamp Rats

Hunters in Louisiana can collect a bounty of $6 per nutria tail. Photo: iStock/Anagramm

In February, competitors took to the swamps around Venice, Louisiana, the tip of the state’s boot and legendary fishing area, to help control the state’s invasive nutria population. Nutria have been around for about 90 years, an invasive species originally imported from South America. They plow through vegetation that helps hold the swamps and marshes together. According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, more than 8,300 acres of marsh was damaged by nutria in 2021, and it estimates that more than 40 square miles of coastline has been impacted by nutria in recent decades. 

This year’s tally of 1,900 nutria was more than in 2021, when about 1,500 were brought into Venice Marina. Hunters and fun-seekers rode through the marshes until late afternoon, when they returned for a count, music, beer, nutria gumbo, a “nutria toss” for distance and other celebration. The winning team had 423 nutria and the biggest of the rodeo weighed 21.7 pounds. 

Louisiana offers a bounty for nutria tails, paying $6 per tail. That resulted in about 312,000 nutria being turned in this past year.


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