"The state faces a massive threat from invaders—like the nutria, a swamp rat from South America—that threaten crops and the environment."
"California Rep. Josh Harder needed a way to convince the U.S. House of Representatives to pay attention to his speech about invasive species during a meeting in February. So he brought in a hefty rat carcass and laid it on the table next to him.
The taxidermied rat, which Harder called "Nellie," convinced the House to unanimously pass a bill that supports eradication efforts in states infested with nutria, large rodents also known as swamp rats that are native to South America.
"I think it was the first time in congressional history that a taxidermied swamp rat made an appearance on the House floor," Harder, a Democrat, said. The bill, which will now go to the Senate, authorized the funding for efforts to fight the nutria."