* Fur dense, rich brown, with coarse guard hairs. Belly silvery.
* Tail naked, scaly, black, flattened on the sides, 8-11".
* Head and body length: 10-14".
* Habitat: Marshes, pond edges, lakes, streams, in cattails, open water.
Builds conical houses, 2-3' above water, out of marsh vegetation, mud,
cattails, and other nearby materials. The houses are built in shallow
water and have underwater entrances and tunnels. Muskrats also make
burrows and dens in pond and lake banks.
* Range: Throughout most of the United States and Canada.
* Behavior: Muskrats feed on vegetation, clams, frogs,
fish, and other small animals. They mate in spring and summer in the
north and in the winter in the south.
* Lifespan: 3 - 4 years.
* Predators of the muskrat include man, minks, large snakes, great horned
owls, river otters, and large-mouth bass. Muskrat fur is harvested
* Muskrats build throughout the year. Besides working on their
unique homes, they build 'feeder huts' and 'breather huts' in
the winter. The 'feeders' are huts used for eating without disturbance
from predators, consisting of a roofed circular platform made
of aquatic plants. The 'breathers', also called 'pushups', are
made when the muskrat cuts a hole in the ice and pushes mud and
sticks up through it, creating an under-ice hollow.
* Muskrats are considered pests by the owners of small reservoirs,
since the animals can severely weaken the dams that sustain the
* Look for muskrats around Paramecium Pond; they can be seen
swimming or grazing in the grass at the pond's edge.
Approved by NR