There are two mammals on Michigan’s list of invasive species to watch out for.
The first is a large, destructive rodent that has not yet been found in Michigan – Nutria.
The second is the aggressive wild boar, which has been banned in Michigan since 2012.
If you believe you have found any of these invasive mammals, please report it through the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network. Only click here and look for the mammal.
Wild boar / Russian boar
Wild boars are known to be located in Michigan and were banned in 2012.
Before they were banned, wild boars were found in 65 of Michigan’s 83 counties, including Macomb, Oakland, Livingston and Washtenaw counties. Now they are only found in three provinces.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, many of the wild boars found in Michigan escaped from wild ranches. They transmit disease, destroy crops, threaten animals and people, and offer no benefit other than sport hunting.
Before they were banned in 2012, hunting was big business for the owners of about 65 game ranches about the state.
Wild boars were first brought to the United States in the 1500s. Free-range livestock and breakouts allowed for the first settlement of feral pigs in the country.
In the 1900’s the Eurasian or Russian wild boars were introduced to parts of the United States for sport hunting, according to the USDA. Currently, wild boar populations consist of escaped domestic pigs, Eurasian wild boars, and hybrids of both.
They have been reported in at least 35 states and their population is estimated to be over 6 million and growing rapidly.
They can be recognized by their long, straight, narrow muzzle, dark colored or camouflage fur and slightly tipped bristles.
They are usually found in mixed forest and agricultural areas. They feed on hard mast and agricultural crops. They also use wetland habitats year round.
They are known to eat what they can and when they can – including crops, bird and reptile eggs, insects and insect larvae, pet fawns and young, grasses and forbs, tree seeds and seedlings, nuts, roots and tubers.
The wild boars are aggressive towards humans and can transmit various diseases.
Other names: Wild boar, wild boar, wild boar, wild boar, Old World boar, razorback, Eurasian wild boar, Russian wild boar
Nutria has not yet been detected in Michigan, but officials want residents to know about it.
These large, destructive, semi-aquatic rodents live in farm ponds, drainage channels, swamps, freshwater and brackish swamps, swamps and rivers. They eat bulrush, cordgrass, tuber and bulrush roots and rhizomes.
They carry various diseases and parasites that can infect humans, pets and livestock. Their feeding, digging and rooting habits cause erosion, turning healthy swamp into an open water habitat.
They can be found on the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast and the Pacific Northwest. They were introduced for fur production. Michigan officials believe they can settle in Michigan if released intentionally or accidentally.
They can be confused with the American beaver and muskrat. Nutria are about two feet long and have dark brown fur, large yellow or orange front teeth, a thick rat tail covered in bristly hair and long, white whiskers on either side of their noses.
Other names: Coypu, coypu, nutria rat, swamp beaver
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