Immigrants Searching fur Neutral Waters
Typical story: shy willing workers brought in to do a job, suddenly finding themselves the object of
The lakes were clogged with duckweed and invasive water plants. No one wanted to get in there and clean it up. Nasty low paid manual labor. It was a simple solution: just import a few – some from South American. Just as a trial? Approved.
So they came, Heads down – bringing nothing with them. Seeing the job. Quickly going to work. Much relief. The fur didn’t fly. The pilot project was a success.
So the workers settled in – with a bit more confidence. There was plenty that needed to be done. They didn’t mind floating around from waterway to waterway. Feeling secure, and well fed, they began to see great state of Texas as home. When necessary, they adapted. They started families and had children, the normal two or three a year. Gladly, they labored in the twilight and while others slept. Gradually they spread across the state.
Then there were grumbles and complaints.
People noticed their growing numbers.
“Where did they all come from?”
“Why are they still here?”
“Do we really need them?” “
“They are crowding out the natives!”
“They undermine everything!”
The phrases all immigrants have hurled at them.
But they kept their heads down. Moved quickly with their work. Maybe some would see value in their efforts and allow them to stay? They liked it here. There was abundant food and clean water. None complained that they were left to live in places others refused. And at the end of the day all they wanted was a place to relax with their families. Quietly they moved in the shadows.
Then the TV cameras came and the outcry grew deafening (and frightening to the youngsters). But the old ones were determined not to be forced out. They may have been discovered, but they’ve been here too long to go back.
The Nutria aren’t being shy anymore around the Point Apartments in Pasadena. They consider themselves Texans now. Each afternoon two dozen or more of the giant rodents can be seen frolicking in the decorative retaining ponds.
They’ve found Nutria Heaven
Strict vegetarians who adore reeds and water plants, the furry guys are thrilled with the soggy wetlands and bayous filled by the winter’s rains. Unfortunately they eat about 25% of their weight in plants each day, so an area can get stripped bare pretty fast.
Awkwardly, they just don’t seem able to break that habit of competing with ducks for food tossed by visitors at the city and state parks in broad daylight – causing a few shrieks and rapid retreats (Just drop the bag, please.)
The nutria know they have an image problem: about 2 feet long with a long rat-like tail and webbed hind feet. But they have those cute little front paws they use to hold things. Generally curious and docile, they have tried to win over the local residents with their antics. But maybe it’s the big front teeth – they look like beavers. That similarity makes them a tad uncomfortable as their soft under pelts have also been harvested in the past for the fur trade.
But the nutria are feeling pretty sassy right now at the apartment ponds – much to the despair of the human residents who just find them, well, creepy – in a horror movie kinda way.
There may be a real reason for humans to be wary.
Oh, not because of angry nutria threats.
It’s that alligators are warming up and will be moving around pretty soon…..and alligators love a tasty nutria snack.
So step away from that nutria.
And watch out for those lumpy log shapes that weren’t there yesterday!
Just can’t trust those migrants.
The tail of a tale,
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
Related posts: try the “alligator” tag in the sidebar
Interested in nutria lore?
- “The Nutria Defense Page” ( Nutria supporter near Lake Palestine, TX. photos)
- “Wimpy vegetarian nutria is one pesky rodent” (Shannon Tompkins article. Houston Chronicle)
- “Nutria continue to advance” ( Michael Price. Wild about Texas. San Angelo, TX)
- “Nutria” (Austin Daily Photo. (Great photo of nutria on banks of Lake Austin. Nutria news.)
- “Giant Rodents – Nutria- invade Pasadena apartments” (News article)