Item #1. Ran into one of these on the sidewalk walking home: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coypu The coypu (from the Mapudungun, koypu), (Myocastor coypus), also known as the river rat,  and nutria, is a large, herbivorous, semiaquatic rodent and the only member of the family Myocastoridae. Originally native to subtropical and temperate South America, it has since been introduced to North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, primarily by fur ranchers. Although it is still valued for its fur in some regions, its destructive feeding and burrowing behaviors make this invasive species a pest throughout most of its range.There are two commonly used names in the English language for Myocastor coypus. The name "nutria" (or local derivatives such as "nutria- or nutra- rat") is generally used in North America and Asia; however, in Spanish-speaking countries, the word "nutria" refers to the otter. To avoid this ambiguity, the name "coypu" (derived from the Mapudungun language) is used in Latin America and Europe. In France, the coypu is known as a ragondin. In Dutch it is known as beverrat (beaver rat). In Italy, instead, the popular name is, as in North America and Asia, "nutria", but it is also called castorino ("little beaver"), by which its fur is known in Italy.Coypus live in burrows alongside stretches of water. They feed on river plants, and waste close to 90% of the plant material while feeding on the stems. It's an old story around here: http://dailyuw.com/archive/2006/04/21/imported/invasive-rodents-could-hurt-ecosystem A non-native mammal is quickly populating the shorelines and waterways of the Union Bay Natural Area, threatening to destroy vegetation and waterways.These 20-pound rodents, known as nutria, have no natural enemies in the area, and may take hold of the Bay's ecosystem by competing with local species for food and shelter.Nutria are semi-aquatic and can be mistaken for beavers or muskrats. The main difference is their tails, which are long and have little hair, much like a rat's.The animals are natives of South America brought to North America for their pelts. In the United States, they have been sighted in Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Maryland and Oregon.UW students Phu T. Van, 22, and Filip Tkaczyk, 23, are tracking nutria for a graduation thesis within the wildlife science major.Tkaczyk and Van first spotted nutria in the Union Bay Natural Area, north of Husky Stadium. 'Union Bay Natural Area' is a converted landfill: http://www.sefs.washington.edu/aboutTheSchool/onlineNewsletter/09Fall/LearningfromLandfill.shtml I'm going with the Dutch view on this one. Verdict: Probably.