This Rat Could Provide Your Next Fur Coat
Somehow, we doubt PETA is convinced
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2010 11:32 AM CDT
A coypu, or nutria (Myocastor coypus), a toothy, over-sized rodent which inhabits the Tiber river, climbs on the submerged stairs on the banks of the Tiber, in central Rome.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

(Newser) – Good news, eco-conscious fashionistas: You may soon be able to don real fur responsibly. The downside? It comes from a rat. The nutria, to be exact, a semi-aquatic South American rat that grows to more than 2 feet long and can reach 20 pounds. Thanks to the fact that the rodents are taking over Gulf Coast marshland and chowing down on all the vegetation, their pelts are experiencing a resurgence in popularity, Vanity Fair reports.

The nutria was brought over from Argentina in the 1930s, and its fur—“tougher than mink,” says designer Gilles Mendel—was popular until the mid-70s. Ever since the fur backlash, though, the pesky rodent population has been growing again—and could doom thousands of acres of coastal wetlands. Now Billy Reid, Oscar de la Renta, and J. Mendel are a few of the designers lending a hand—by using this “bad-ass fur,” as Reid calls it, in their designs.

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
jagerhans
Apr 28, 2010 1:43 PM CDT
OK. i know those critters. they suck ass. they escaped from farms where were raised for furs, went wild and killed all the common, small rats in the river , the legitimate owners of the place. so now we have south american mega-rats in our river. common rats were prey to other animals, these leviathans don't fear any predator around except man and reproduce themselves endlessly. our lame ass italian laws promptly decided that since they are not a native animal of the place but a malignant intruder introduced by men... they needed NOT to be eradicated, but to be protected BY LAW. GOD how much I hate those fake environmentalists protecting lice and rats against the evil hunters and ignoring rampant pollution. personally I dont give a fuck about the hunting laws and shotgun them away every single friggin'time i found those pieces of shit. god how deeply i hate and despise italy and all of my lame ass country fellowmen.
Grilgus
Apr 28, 2010 12:56 AM CDT
I thought it was a Capybara
thatonenerdychick
Apr 27, 2010 11:35 PM CDT
I have no problem wearing fur of overpopulated invasive species. I hate nutria, they pushed out all the native beavers in my area. they're terrible for the environment here. luckily they're not as bad as the red foxes and cane toads in australia and killing off endangered species. who's up for australian imported fox fur?!