Nutria: The Cute But Problematic River Rats of Prague

Nutria, also known as river rats, have become a common sight for visitors to Libeňský and Střelecký islands in Prague. These adorable creatures have won the hearts of many tourists, but they are causing several problems in the city due to their overpopulation and habit of being fed by humans.

Originally from North America, nutria has taken over the riverbanks of Prague in recent years. One of the main problems with the overpopulation of nutria is that they often coexist with rats, transmitting the same diseases, so it’s essential to be careful around them.

In addition to carrying diseases, nutria is also causing damage to the local ecosystem by displacing native animals such as beavers, undermining riverbanks, and even attacking dogs and people. Nutria attacks on dogs can be vicious and bloody, as Radka Vítovská experienced while walking her dog near a local swimming pool.

To address the issue of nutria overpopulation, a law was passed in January 2022, allowing city authorities to regulate their numbers. Previously, only hunters were allowed to shoot nutria.

Despite the problems they cause, nutria remain fascinating creatures. Adults can weigh over 10 kilograms and grow up to 70 centimeters long. They are herbivores and feed on roots and herbs, which they dig up from the ground. Nutria are also excellent swimmers known for their unique lodges made of stems, which they use to hide from predators.

Visitors to Prague can still enjoy watching these cute creatures, but it’s important to remember that they are wild animals and should not be fed or approached too closely. With proper management, nutria can continue to be a beloved part of Prague’s ecosystem without causing harm to its residents and other inhabitants.

A Trip to Prague Zoo

If you want to see various animals up close, visiting Prague Zoo is a must. The zoo is home to over 650 species of animals and is one of the most highly regarded zoos in the world.

Visitors can see everything from majestic lions to playful chimpanzees and even the rarest creatures, such as Przewalski’s horse. The zoo also has specialized areas, such as the Indonesian Jungle and the African Savannah, where visitors can see animals in their natural habitats.

In addition to seeing the animals, visitors can also learn about conservation efforts and how the zoo is working to protect endangered species. There are also several educational programs and events for visitors of all ages.

If you plan to visit Prague, add the zoo to your itinerary. It’s an unforgettable experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the animals and the importance of their conservation.