Rodents of Unusual Size
“Rodents of Unusual Size” examines the environmental impact of nutria, an invasive, highly destructive species of oversized rodents from South America, on Louisiana. Nutria were inadvertently introduced to the swamps of Louisiana in the 1930s — the original intent was to captive-breed them for fur — and then quickly exploded in population, wreaking havoc on the ecosystem and eroding the flood protection offered by the coastal wetlands. Much of the nutria history is provided in several exceptionally well-animated sequences narrated by Wendell Pierce (of “The Wire” and “Treme”), but the film primarily follows a colorful cast of Cajun bayou dwellers and New Orleanians (including jazz musician Kermit Ruffins) who hunt, trap, and use nutria for food and fur. A passel of bounty hunters and animal-control agents such as Michael Beran are hellbent on saving Louisiana before it dissolves beneath their feet. The proceedings are further enlivened by a sprightly score from the Lost Bayou Ramblers.