Interview With a Nutria

As part of our ongoing series of conversations with animals on policy and population control issues, we recently sat down with Anna W., a wild nutria living in a pond in Delaware.

Us: Let’s get right down to it, Anna. Why do people hate you?

Anna: Because we’re winners, honestly. “Invasive,” my foot. I’m sorry, does our success threaten you? This is like the bullshit backlash you’re always hearing from old white people who get mad that their pwecious Iwy Weague alma maters are being “overrun” by high-achieving Asian students.

Us: Wow! You’re a little more confrontational than I expected, for such a fuzzy-wuzzy little thing.

Anna: Oh, I’m sorry. Let me guess, you were hoping I’d give you the go-ahead to buy a “sustainable” fur coat made out of thirty or forty of my closest relatives? Fuck that noise. You think just because there are a lot of us that we’re going to say “oh, whatever, I guess we SHOULD be eradicated”? We’re not chinchillas, bitch. We’re angry. We’re aggressive, we move quickly, and we’re fertile as all get out.

Us: Okay, speaking of the eradication efforts, I admit that I was a little squicked out by the “Judas” nutria concept. They seriously implant radios in captured nutria so they’ll lead them to your colonies?

Anna: It’s disgusting. Did none of these scientists ever read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH? The Plague Dogs? Newflash, eggheads. You’re not the good guys here.

Us: What do you say, though, about the accusation that nutria are totally wiping out any marshland they settle near? I mean, if the state is actually putting a bounty on your pelts, there must be a compelling reason.

Anna: I’d expect better from a human, I really would. You want to start talking about living in harmony with your surroundings? Working towards a sustainable breeding population? Using up one continent and moving to a new one? Yeah. Smallest fucking violin for you people and your marshland. Read some Ayn Rand and get back to me. There should be SONGS about us. We make do! We thrive. I had three litters last year, and my youngest son is already running a thriving dry-goods store in Baton Rouge. Here’s a question for you: did you ever read Miss Rumphius?

Us: Totally! That sweet old lady who planted lupins everywhere.

Anna (triumphantly): Well, break out your torches, then, because that sweet old lady is basically a war criminal, by your own standards. Why can’t you just recognize that the next century belongs to the nutria? Humans had a decent run, and now it’s drawing to a close. Of course, with the way things are going in Delaware, I won’t be around to see it, no matter how many pointless petitions I’ve sent Joe Biden.

Us: Thanks so much, Anna. I hope things turn around for you.

Anna: Fat chance. You’ll see me out there on the barricades with those massive Asian carp and a bucket of zebra mussels soon enough.