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Muskrat

Ondatra zibethica
Muskrat sitting on marshy vegetation at edge of pond.  Photo by R Town/USFWS
A common wetland resident, muskrats prefer areas with vegetative cover such as cattails and rushes. This also provides food for this vegetarian as well as materials to build their dome-like domiciles, called “pushups”. Muskrats also burrow into the banks of lake and ponds and can cause much damage to man-made dikes.

Although smaller, the best way to distinguish muskrat from beaver is to note its long skinny tail. With its slightly lateral flattening, muskrat moves its tail back and forth to propel it through the water.

Facts About Muskrat

Size
2-4 pounds
Diet
Aquatic vegetation, some frogs and fish
Lifespan
2-3 years
Reproduction
Breeds April to August
Young (2-3 litters of 5-6)
Viewing
Pond at Nature Trail, Environmental Education Pond 
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2013
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