Nutria usually make their homes in holes they build on the shoreline. Often, their digging will tear and expose roots. This particular one had not made a home of the beaver den; rather it seemed curious as to whether it was occupied.
They were introduced to North America, relocated from South America, due to the fur trade industry. They were valued for both their meat and their hides. Once the value of the fur increased to a premium, at one time as valuable as mink, farmers found a way to raise them. They were easy to keep, had large litters, and females could breed the day after giving birth. Due to the farming of the nutria, the fur become over abundant and the value plummeted. A hurricane hit the Southeast and many of the farmed nutria escaped.
If you know where to look, you can find nutria in nearly any southern state, and they range as far north as Ohio. They can expand further north if there are subsequent mild winters. The only barrier is they tend to get frostbite on their tails, causing infection and death.
As mentioned prior, I took note of where I saw the nutria and the time. The next time I would be in the water, the bow would be in hand rather than the shotgun.
A couple of days later, the nutria had a head start on me. As I was headed to where the blind was, I saw him already swimming well ahead as the water and air was clear. I positioned myself near the blind and could see it still swimming amongst the trees in the swamp.
It only took 15 minutes for it to become curious enough to see what I was. Once it was in range, about 20 yards, I released the arrow towards its mark. No thrashing, no circling, no fighting. Just a roll over and the arrow was sticking nearly straight up.
Once there, I had to look to see if it was a beaver and not a nutria. It was as huge up close as it looked the other day. I pulled it into the boat and headed to shore. This was by far the largest I have taken.