Giant Rat Invades California (Photos)

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A giant 20 pound rodent in California has been discovered in Stanislaus County.

The giant nutria, also known as coypu, is around 2 feet, 6 inches long with a 12-inch tail and is capable of destroying roads, levees and wetlands.

They live in or near water and they can be very destructive.

'They burrow in dikes, and levees, and road beds, so they weaken infrastructure, (which is) problematic for flood control systems,' California Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Peter Tira said.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a warning this week about the influx of these rodents as they were caught reproducing within the San Joaquin Valley.

Nutria can cause major wildlife destruction and they can consume 25 percent of their body weight each day in vegetation.

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'They weaken infrastructure, (which is) problematic for flood control systems,' Tira said.

Since 2017, more than 20 nutria have been spotted in Stanislaus, Merced and Fresno counties. However, that number could increase if they aren't dealt with quickly as they can give birth to up to 200 offspring each year.

'We have traps out. We're setting traps. We have trail cameras,' Tira said. 'We're really asking for the public's help to report sightings so we can get a handle on the extent of the problem.'

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