Muskrat

photo by nature80020 CC BY

Muskrat can be found swimming in marshes, ponds, lakes, and rivers throughout North America. A large rodent (12 in body) with waterproof brown fur and a narrow, pointed, leathery tail (8-11 in), they live in large family groups, sheltering in bank burrows or constructed nests.

Muskrat have large, hairy hind feet that act like paddles when swimming. They eat plants; Cattails are a favorite. By harvesting marsh plants, they create open water for birds and other wildlife.

Muskrat are most active at dusk and at night. A favorite location is marshes with a constant water level and lots of vegetation for eating and nest construction.

Could it be? Muskrat are smaller than Beaver with a much thinner tail.

Did you know? Muskrat are excellent swimmers, moving as fast as 3 miles per hour. They can even swim backwards and can stay underwater for up to 20 minutes.

See Also: Beaver, Mink