Rodents of Unusual Size

When I first moved to Portland, a housemate pointed out a nutria at a swampy MAX stop—they’re large, rat-tailed, orange-toothed, and kind of hard to miss—and informed me they were native to the area. She was wrong. Nutria were imported to Oregon in the 1930s to support the area’s fur trade, back when nutria fur coats were a thing, and much of the documentary Rodents of Unusual Size attempts to make a case for nutria fur coats becoming a thing again. Largely filmed in Louisiana, R.O.U.S. focuses on the problem of nutria-caused erosion, and most of its interviews are with people who kill nutria for the state’s $5 bounty on each tail. There are many, many dead nutria in this film, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun, weird movie to watch—it's full of grizzled old Louisiana men doing things like holding poop in their hand and saying, “That’s a nutria turd.”

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