Tonight, yet another Louisiana reality show premiered on Spike TV (Tuesdays, 9:30 Central Time), Rat B*stards. The premise of this show is sort of like Swamp People. The main difference is that on Swamp People, the hunters are chasing gators; on this program, the hunters are going after the enormous bayou rats, the nutria.


But as those of us who viewed the program will surely agree, the two programs have a lot of things in common. In each show, the hunters travel in teams of two. In each, the hunters appear to not have encountered a barber or razor since Jimmy Carter was President. Both series go after bayou predators that are otherwise uncontrollable. Both programs have a narrator to move the plot along.

But there are differences, too. In Rat B*stards, they hunt on foot, rather than on boats. One team brings their black lab along to retrieve the dead vermin. Another welcome modification is that these hunters are actually understandable to the viewer; on Swamp People, they provide subtitles for viewers who reside in the 49 and 1/2 states that aren’t in Cajun country, since the accents are so severe. I’ll keep us updated on this program, at least until I tire of the premise.

These animals are hunted because they devastate the vegetation in the bayous, thereby increasing flooding. The hunters make about $15 per hide. I’m unclear, if they are so awful, why they just aren’t provided with some food that makes it impossible for them to reproduce, but I’m not originally from here.

As a footnote, when we first moved here, I took my yellow lab puppy and black lab to walk along a creek that is alarmingly near our home. As labs are inclined to do, they frolicked through the creek, while I lolled behind. I heard a loud screech and, fearing the worst, hurried around the bend, seeing the black lab protecting the puppy from what I thought was a huge muskrat. I picked up a branch and scared the ‘muskrat’ away. We went home and when I told a neighbor, he said that that it was nutria, or a bayou rat. Knowing that there were 20 pound rats living within a half mile of my home didn’t placate me much.