By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
After hearing the saga of the nutria while waiting at the edge of Bachman Lake one bright Sunday for the carp to bite, Enrique Lopez dubs the nutria he's seen paddling around "mojados" (wetbacks). But after recalling the critters got to Louisiana by boat, he decides they're simply "undocumented."
He and his friend Manuel Morales, who fishes Bachman Lake for carp and catfish about once a week, don't mind the furry fishing companions. Every once in a while, a nutria will paddle over to Morales' shaded spot along the lake and crawl out of the water over to the plastic bag holding his bait--often stale tortillas. A couple of the nervy rodents have even attempted to snag a piece. He doesn't see them as pesky, however. "They don't bother me, I don't bother them," Morales says. Lucky for the city, Dallas' lack of wet, heavily vegetated areas helps keep the local nutria community in check, Verner says. Indeed, a quick survey of Bachman Lake's littered parameter reveals an area practically free of anything worth tearing up. This might explain why the lake's nutria are uncharacteristically brazen at times.
"Maybe we just don't have anything there that they really like other than the people feeding them," maintenance manager Naranjo says.