Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Muskrat - Ondatra zibethicus 

The Muskrat looks like a small beaver because both have evolved to adapt to a similar aquatic environment, but they are in totally different families. The Muskrat is a rodent. 
November 13, 2011 Muskrats do not hibernate. This Muskrat is sitting on the edge of the ice. 

Mink population peaks in Western Canada follow those of the Muskrat, which implies this rodent is a common prey of the Mink. A similar pattern is observed with the Lynx and Snowshoe Hare.

June 12, 2012 The tail is long, thin, and flat and is used as a rudder or skulled from side to side to provide some propulsion.
June 11, 2013 Muskrat in same pond a year later.

The heart rate of a Muskrat falls with diving. In one study the HR fell from 310 beats per minute to 54 after 2 seconds submersion. Muskrats are highly resistant to elevated CO2 levels, which rise in their enclosed lodges.

Muskrats forage in a modest range usually within 60 meters of their lodge.


Naughton Donna. The Natural History of Canadian Mammals. UofT Press. 2012.   

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