Periwinkle’s nutrias: There are fewer now – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Periwinkle’s nutrias: There are fewer now

Written November 13th, 2018 by Hasso Hering

Periwinkle Creek south of Queen Avenue on Monday afternoon: No nutria in evidence.

If nutrias are hard to spot now in Periwinkle Creek, it’s probably because a contractor for the Albany Parks Department got rid of about 40 of the pesky rodents a couple of months ago.

City Manager Peter Troedsson called attention to nutrias in his most recent memo to the city council. “Every few years,” he wrote, “Park Maintenance traps and euthanizes nutria along Periwinkle Creek where they have caused infrastructure problems – burrowing under sidewalks and into banks of the creek. This is done solely to protect the City’s investment in this public property.”

I asked about the details, and Rick Barnett of the parks department responded. “About every two or three years (depending on the population) the city has a trapper remove and euthanize nutria from the Periwinkle Creek area,” Barnett wrote me. “If we do not, they begin to do substantial damage to the banks and the walkway by undermining for their burrows. This past September, over the period of a few days, the trapper removed somewhere around 40. We do not plan on removing any more this winter.”

(A word about grammar: Everybody seems to refer to “nutria” even if there are more than one, but the dictionary says the plural has an “s” at the end.)

If nutrias are causing you grief on your Albany property, Troedsson has a warning: “It’s worth reminding Albany residents in all neighborhoods that they cannot use firearms to kill nutria in the city limits.” Instead, they must be trapped and otherwise destroyed. It’s apparently illegal to just trap them and release them somewhere.

And by the way, don’t call the city to deal with nutrias at your place. “Citizens on occasion call and want us to remove ‘the city’s’ nutria from their properties,” Barnett wrote. “Like other wildlife issues, we encourage the homeowner to handle the problem and point them towards exterminators to do the job.”

A feathered flotilla navigates Periwinkle Creek, whose steep banks are nutrias’ favorite habitat.

11 responses to “Periwinkle’s nutrias: There are fewer now”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Some responses to your previous post about the removal of tree reflected some local rage towards dastardly humans (the developer who seeks obscene profits). I wonder if this post about the city’s killing of innocent animals will activate the tree huggers rage in the same way?

    PETA says, ‘Animals are not ours.” “Every creature with a will to live has a right to live.”

    In this case, money is the reason given for the death sentences by Commissars Barnett and Troedsson.

    If a soon-to-be dead tree causes local rage from the proletariat, shouldn’t a pack of already-dead nutria?

    • centrist says:

      Skipping past “tree huggers”, “commissars”, and “proletariat” to the animal-plant issue.
      “All pigs are equal, but some are more equal.”

  2. Bob Woods says:

    If anyone is tempted to start a “Save the Nutria” group, DONT!!!!!

  3. Bill Higby says:

    HH you should see if there are any articles in the DH archives about Mayor Marv Saxton creating or allowing nutria to be hunted with crossbows. Also once upon a time Nutria were raised here for food and fur.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      As far as I remember, Marv was on the council but not mayor. Correct me if my memory doesn’t go far enough back. As for the D-H archives, the time period in question was well before digital data storage. If the paper has kept the old clip files, somebody might find something in there, but it would be a very long shot.

  4. centrist says:

    More of the story.
    Nutria were brought to the PNW as fur-bearers for pelt harvest. At some point, the market dropped enough tp make feeding them unprofitable. Apparently enough folks opened the cages and let loose to fend for themselves. They’ve adapted well, but cause havoc with things that humans need (dikes, river banks, roads).
    Populations are controlled by disease, predators, and harvest. They are healthy and have limited exposure to predators. So, harvest is the option left. Since I’ve never heard of anyone talking about cooking or smoking nutria, it sounds as though trapping is the only answer left.
    Some animals are indeed considered more equal.
    To HH– the approved plural may have an “s”, but I was raised in the tradition that many species ( elk, deer, moose, nutria) have no identified plural. Ah well…..

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Good point on the common usage of the plural “nutria.” But when it’s used that way, to me it always sounds as though a single animal of that species should be a “nutrium.”

    • Bryan says:

      “Since I’ve never heard of anyone talking about cooking or smoking nutria..”
      You must not have looked (listened) very hard. There are many places that the consumption of nutria is promoted as a way of population control.
      The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries:

  5. Don says:

    Hi have eaten them. They are a mild flavor meat, should be very healthy since they are vegetarians and do not store fat. A good snow for about a week that is 8 inches or more deep and good cold snap with it really thins them out. We have had some years that they have done over $10,000 crop damage. That next year we exterminated 1280 of them on our property. There currently are some spots with too many. The pelts use to be worth some money and with us paying a small bounty we had a trapper help us out. The next year there was days he caught upwards of 70.

  6. James Engel says:

    I’ll tell you where those critters went! Into our back yard. And we are a couple blocks west of Hill St! Unfortunately those 2 big ones died of lead poisoning. The possum went for drive way out on Hy 226. As for PETA, it stands for “People Eating Tasty Animals.


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