How to Get Rid of River Rats

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If you live near a body of water, such as a river or lake, in the southern United States, you may experience problems with pests invading your yard. One such pest is the nutria, sometimes called "river rat" by those familiar with them. Nutria received this name because they are very large rats, weighing approximately 20 lbs., that live much of their lives in the water. These creatures have large teeth and should not be approached directly. If you want to get rid of nutria, this can be done by trapping the animal.

Things You'll Need

  • Sweet fruit or vegetables
  • Foothold, Live or Conibear trap
Nutria are called "river rats" because of their semi-aquatic lifestyle.
Nutria are called "river rats" because of their semi-aquatic lifestyle. (Image: Enskanto/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Set out a trap in the area where you have seen nutria appear. A live trap is the most humane, as it does not harm the animal once it is contained. Foothold traps catch the animal by the leg, and Conibear traps are designed to kill an animal as soon as it is captured.

Set a trap
Set a trap (Image: Elena_vedmed/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 2

Chop up several pieces of fruit or vegetables, and place them inside the trap. This lures the nutria into the trap.If you want to kill the nutria with the bait, coat it with a zinc phosphide poison.

Chop up several pieces of fruit or vegetables, and place them inside the trap
Chop up several pieces of fruit or vegetables, and place them inside the trap (Image: Scott Cramer/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 3

Wait for the trap to trigger. If you are using a Conibear trap, this will kill the nutria. Contact your local animal control department to find out where to dispose of the animal.

Contact your local animal control department to find out where to dispose of the animal.
Contact your local animal control department to find out where to dispose of the animal. (Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Step 4

Release the nutria into the wild, if desired, if you are using a live trap. The best areas are forested with a nearby body of water. Release the animal far enough away from your house to ensure that it does not return.

Release the nutria into the wild, if desired, if you are using a live trap
Release the nutria into the wild, if desired, if you are using a live trap (Image: gabylegeai/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 5

Take the nutria to a local animal control center or veterinarian if you do not want to release it. They may euthanize the nutria for you.

Take the nutria to a local animal control center or veterinarian if you do not want to release it
Take the nutria to a local animal control center or veterinarian if you do not want to release it (Image: kornyeyeva/iStock/Getty Images)

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