Ljubljana’s Furry Residents: The Nutria

Written by Kali Todd

Budget Travel Guides & Tips

June 25, 2024

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One of my favorite cities is Ljubljana, Slovenia – a place bursting with history, charm, and an unexpected group of residents: nutria’s! These large semi-aquatic rodents are native to South America and were originally brought to Slovenia for fur trade. When the fur market collapsed in the 1940s, nutria escaped and were released into Ljubljana. Although considered invasive, nutria have captured the hearts of many residents.

Nutria LjubljanaNutria in Ljubljana

At first glance, nutria might look like beavers or muskrats, but don’t be fooled! Their bright orange teeth, rat-like tails with thin bristly hair, and white whiskers give them away. These critters are pretty hefty too, at about two feet long. But the real surprise, at least for me? Their ears look almost human! They’re quite a sight to see. 

Eradication Efforts

Although fun to see in person, remember that these invasive species negatively affect the environment and landscapes throughout Ljubljana. Nutria cause massive erosion through digging, rooting, eating, and swimming, decimating a healthy marsh to no more than an open-water habitat. In 2023, Ljubljana discussed the eradication of these animals but was faced with protests from more than 24,000 people. Since the backlash, it’s unclear if government officials have continued with the effort. 

Nutria in LjubljanaNutria in Ljubljana

In the US, nutria have caused similar problems but on a grander scale, requiring a removal project spanning over 800 square miles in Maryland to protect the area from environmental damage. This eradication project took 12 years to remove more than 14,000 nutria, and the area is still being monitored to date.

Where to See Nutria in Ljubljana

The best place to spot nutria is the Nutria Feeding Grounds in Ljubljana, located at Gruberjevo nabrežje 20, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The nutria are located right in the city, along a beautiful part of the river. Even if you don’t spot nutria on your visit, this is a great place to appreciate the beauty of the city.

Ljubljana RiverLjubljana River


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