There’s Nutria in the Park?!

Scene: Walking through the park on a lazy Sunday in Santiago. Watch Jeannette have yet another misunderstanding due to language barriers.

Ancho the Gallego:  I saw a nutria in the park one night.

Jeannette: What? Really?!

Ancho: Yeah, I was shocked, they don’t appear in little streams usually.

Jeannette: Ewww, gross. (makes faces)

Ancho: What? You can’t think nutria are gross!

Jeannette: They’re giant rats!

Ancho: But they swim!

Jeannette: That makes them more disgusting. Nutria disgust me.

Ancho: Really? They swim on their backs and paddle, they eat fish. They’re cute!

Jeannette: (starts getting suspicious) Wait…look up “nutria” on your smart phone….Oh! You mean you saw an OTTER!

So, yeah. Apparently la nutria is Spanish for otter.  For purpose of comparison:

This is a nutria       


This is an otter

Nutria y are essentially giant rats and inhabit random places around Oregon. Including my sister’s apartment complex. Now, I love rats. They’re adorable and fuzzy 🙂 However, I don’t have much love for nutria, considering they’re big enough to eat my face. The idea that they’d infested Santiago was not so welcome.

Of course, I had to explain to the poor, confused Gallego that I’d thought he was talking about a different animal. Which somehow led to my renaming the gross nutria as the “Super-Rata” (SuperRat) of Oregon…


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