Kingdom Animalia
Class Mammalia
Order Rodentia
Family Myocastoridae
Genus Myocastor
Species coypus
Classification Molina, 1782
Common name nutria
Size up to 60 centimeters, without tail.
Male weight up to 10 kilograms
Female weight up to 10 kilograms

Geographic Range it is native to South America. As a result of escapes and liberations from fur farms, feral populations now occur in Europe, Asia, and North America.
Physical Characteristics it looks like a large rat. Its body is highly arched, and the head is large and almost triangular. The ears and eyes are small and are located in the upper part of the head. The incisors are broad, with orange-pigmented anterior surfaces. The legs are short. The hind feet are much longer than the forefeet, and contain five digits; the first four are connected by webbing, and the fifth is free. The forefeet have four long, flexible, unwebbed digits and a vestigial thumb. The tail is long and rounded. Females have four pairs of thoracic mammae that are situated well up on the sides of the body. The pelage consists of two kinds of hair, soft dense underfur, and long coarse guard hairs that vary from yellowish brown to reddish brown. The underfur is dark gray, and it is denser on the abdomen. The chin is covered by white hairs, and the tail is scantily haired.
Behaviour females care exclusively for the young. It is semiaquatic, individuals can remain submerged for more than 10 minutes. It is most active at night, when it goes around looking for food. For shelter nutria construct burrows, which may be a simple tunnel or a complex system containing passages that extend 15 meters or more. It is highly gregarious. Groups usually consists of 2 - 13 animals and are composed of related adult females, their offspring, and a large male.
Habitat it inhabits marshes, lake edges, and sluggish streams, especially in areas with emergent or succulent vegetation along the banks.
Food habits it is herbivorous. The diet consists largely of aquatic vegetation (stems, leaves, roots, and even bark).
Reproduction the gestation period is long, varying from 127 to 139 days. Litter size in general varies from three to six, although it may range from 1 to 13. Factors affecting reproductive potential of nutria are food type and availability, weather conditions, predators and disease.

References Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology
Web References http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/index.html
Source of the photo http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/index.html

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