My Bantam Lake


Written on 06/28/2018

Ondatra zibethicus

Muskrats are found in wet environments, favoring locations with four to six feet of water. While muskrats are found in ponds, lakes, and swamps, their favorite locations are marshes, where the water level stays constant. Marshes provide the best vegetation for muskrats. They find shelter in bank burrows and their distinctive nests. Muskrats have large, robust bodies, with a total body length of twelve and a half inches. The tail is flat and scaly and is nine and a half inches in length. Muskrats have dense fur that traps air underneath for insulation and buoyancy. Their heads are very large and their ears are almost invisible underneath the fur. The whiskers are mediun size. Muskrats have short legs and big feet; the back feet are slightly webbed for swimming. Muskrats are arranged in large family groups and live in definite territories. If the conditions are overcrowded, the females will kick their offspring out of the group. Muskrats continue to live in large grous even when fighting and cannibalism occur in high rates. Muskrats are active at all times of the day but most active from mid-afternoon until just after dusk. They are capable of vocalizing by squeaks and squeals. Muskrats have poorly developed senses of sight, hearing, and smell. They are affected by quick changes in temperature, and dry, hot weather is especially bad for them.Muskrats are mainly vegetarians but will eat animals as well. Muskrats consume about one-third of their weight every day.


Source: Ondatra zibethicus Muskrat, Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology