Be on the look out for NUTRIA!
Nutria is a semi-aquatic beaver-like rodent that infests most of the southern waterways (lakes, creeks, ponds and rivers). These rodents, in addition to looking like a beaver have long round tails like a rat. Homeowners have seen them up to 30 pounds or better in size. Please be aware, they can be extremely destructive. Nutria will gnaw (chew) the bark off of the tree trunks, which will result in the loss of your tree. Once the bark is off the tree, you will have no choice but to have the tree removed. Many beautiful trees on our lake have been destroyed due to these rodents.
Lake authorities are aware of these rodents and try to keep them under control.

Preventative Measures to keep Nutria away from your trees
-Wrap your tree trunk with galvanized “hardware cloth”. Galvanized hardware cloth is a wire screen that has square holes 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch in size (The materials (galvanized hardware cloth and wire) are available at most hardware stores or home improvement centers).

-Wrap the trunk from the ground up to a height of 3 feet. Next, fasten the hardware cloth with heavy-duty wire, not tie wraps (they will chew the plastic tie wrap right off). The metal hardware cloth seems to deter their chewing habits. 

-In order to allow for continued growth of your trees, you will have to readjust the tightness of the hardware cloth periodically. 

Although this is not a guarantee, it has worked for some of the property owners.