Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Watery Wednesday-Muskrat

One last photo from my time at Squaw Creek NWR last week. This photo is of a Muskrat.



The presence of Muskrats in a marsh is immediately apparent because of their lodges. The lodges are usually constructed of reeds, rushes and cattails. I read somewhere, sometime that the healthiness of a marsh can be determined by the number of muskrat lodges the marsh has. The more lodges, the healthier the marsh. I was unable to find that in any of the reading that I did today.

Muskrats weigh from 1.7 lbs to 3 lbs. Muskrats are smaller that beaver. The hind feet of a muskrat are partially webbed and the long tail is used as a rudder as they swim. They can remain underwater up to about 17 minutes.

Muskrats will have several litters per year. Each litter will have six to eight young. The muskrats have many natural enemies, such as mink, otters, coyotes, raccoons, and birds of prey. Hence their life span is usually short, about three years.

The rest of the Squaw Creek photos are here.

Check out other Watery Wednesday photos

19 comments:

Gill - That British Woman said...

it looks similar to an otter?

Gill in Canada

Shey said...

Nice shot! I would love to get a close shot like that. Thanks for sharing.

Mojo said...

I don't know that I'd recognize one of these well enough to distinguish between it and some other similar aquatic mammal. I wonder what the connection is between the number of lodges and the "health" of the marsh. And is there a cause-and-effect relationship between the two or is it just that muskrats prefer living in "healthy" marshes? And what's considered "healthy" for a marsh?

Petit Eyekiss said...

Nice shot!

VALKYRIEN said...

I thought it was a beaver at first! Thought I saw a tale like they have, in the water. Nice shot of him/her swimming through the water!

Thanks for visiting!

Raven said...

I have never seen a muskrat before -interesting. Great capture

Bim said...

Great photo - the muskrat looks quite determined, whereever it is on its way to.

EcoRover said...

It's amazing how the muskrat population has boomed all over the U.S. Used to be grade school boys trapped them ($1.65 was a lot for a pelt c. 1965! I'd much rather just watch them (and let the otters etc eat them).

PS: for those comparing with other critters, here are some relative sizes:
- muskrat: sleek 10" long (not counting tail)

- beaver: fat, 30"+ long (nct) & 50+ pounds

- otter: sleek, 36"+ long & 15+ pounds

Ebie said...

I did not know that they have a short lifespan.

2sweetnsaxy said...

Great shot. I've never seen one for myself. It looks like it's swimming pretty fast.

Martha said...

He looks a lot like a beaver in the water but I guess he is a lot smaller. I don't think we have them here, just the beaver.

fishing guy said...

Katleen: I saw one in a small stream a few weeks back. You took an excellant photo.

Janie said...

Great muskrat photo. Must have been hard to catch it just right.

Tulip said...

how cute the muskrat is enjoying her swimming, so cute and lovely.

mitt vattenhål said...
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Your EG Tour Guide said...

Nice capture of the muskrat with your camera! I tried to catch one a few days ago and have only the wake to show for it. ;-) It disappeared.

ramblingwoods.com said...

Here they have many enemies. My stupid neighbors will trap and drown them as they don't want them on the ponds..It's legal and I can't do a thing..talking to them didn't help, nor did swearing..makes me angry.. Michelle

EcoRover said...

Michelle, while I agree with you, your friends are probably upset because muskrats burrow into the berm/dam and often end up draining a pond.

Glennis said...

I was interested to read this information as we don't have these musk rats in NZ so I knew nothing about them. They do look rather like Otters.
Nice photo.