Wildlife North America . com
North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects
Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)
Muskrat photographed at Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, Nebraska
Photograph by Josh More. Some rights reserved. (view image details)
Photograph by dobak. Some rights reserved. (view image details)
Muskrat, Cape May County, New Jersey
Photograph by Diane Hamilton. Some rights reserved. (view image details)
Muskrats secrete a scent from their glands called musk. They have large, robust bodies with a flat scaly tail. The body is glossy dark brown and darker in winter and paler in the summer The fur is very dense for insulation. Muskrats have a large head and small ears that can hardly be seen underneath the fur. They have short legs and the large back feet are partly webbed. Muskrats are good swimmers and can stay underwater for up to 15 minutes
Length: 41cm - 62cm. Tail length: 18cm - 24cm. Weight: 0.7kg - 1.8kg.
swamps, marshes, and wetlands. They prefer marshes where they make burrows in banks. Thy make nests from piles of vegetation on top of a solid base like a tree stump in water 0.5m - 1m deep.
mainly plants, but also eat some small animals
A litter of around six young is born in a grass-lined nest after a gestation period of 29 - 30 days. The young have short dark fur at birth and their eyes are closed. They can swim after about 10 days and are fully weaned after 3 - 4 weeks.
from the near arctic tundra in northern Canada to the Gulf coast and Mexican border
Muskrats are hunted for their fur.