NEWARK, N.J. - It's not the Jersey Devil, but its reputation is just as bad.

A 20-pound rodent that scientists say is one of the world's worst invasive species has been spotted in New Jersey.

State Fish and Wildlife biologist Andrew Burnett told the Newark Star-Ledger he saw one nutria swimming in Salem County's Lower Alloways Creek Township in late October.

The critters are native to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. But they've been showing up in North America.

Burnett says nutria eat vegetation, causing animals and fish to lose their habitats.

State wildlife officials are asking people who spot nutrias to report them so they can determine whether they're colonizing in the state.


Information from: The Star-Ledger,