Rodent Infestation In Italy Deemed Out Of Control, Mayor Says ‘Let’s Start Eating Them’

Halle an der Saale, Nutria. Photo: Schellhorn/ullstein bild (Getty)

I’ve never heard of a coypu. It doesn’t sound like something I’d want to eat based on name alone. Yet, that’s exactly what an Italian mayor is suggesting, despite the fact …it’s a rodent.

Also known as nutria, this animal native to South America was initially brought to Europe over a century ago for it’s lucrative fur trade. However, once the fashion of the time had a falling out, the giant muskrat-like creatures were set free. Of course, now they’re destroying Italy.

Myocastor coypus,Coypu, Camargue, France. Photo: Yann Guichaoua-Photos (Getty)

According to reports, farmers have been complaining that coypus are eating up crops and tearing through levees and embankments because of their burrows. There are estimated to be millions of the creatures living in certain regions of the country alone. But no worries! Michele Marchi, the mayor of the Italian town of Gerre de’ Caprioli, has a suggestion:

Eat them!

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Yup. In fact, Marchi says numbers could be dramatically decreased if people would just start trapping and eating the critters. He claims he’s already tried it, and it tastes like rabbit.

The mayor reportedly put the proposal in a Facebook post. It immediately started a heated discussion — some people in favor, others disgusted.


“The debate about coypu has become bonkers, without coming to any resolution of the problem,” the 31-year-old mayor wrote.

“Here’s my idea — let’s start eating them in restaurants and at village food festivals.” …

“I’m totally serious. It’s true that there is a sense of revulsion towards the coypu, but you just have to go into a pig farm to put it into context — everybody loves to eat prosciutto. We should at least start to discuss the idea.”

There are already 18 states in the U.S. that have developed large coypu populations, some in Louisiana already making them a “delicacy.” In fact, here’s a website dedicated to a specific recipe.

So maybe the mayor’s idea wasn’t totally out of left field. However, I think I’ll keep my diet rodent free for now.

Josh Helmuth is a sports reporter in St. Louis who contributes to Mandatory.