What’s In My Backyard?

Lake Friends: Muskrat

For the introduction to this series, see here

Meet the muskrat! When is a rat not a rat? When it is a muskrat! These aquatic animals are rodents but they are much more closely related to voles and lemmings than to rats. Muskrats are adapted to life in the water. They have webbed back feet to propel them through the water and a flattened tail that they use as a rudder. Their fur is thick and made up of two layers to provide insulation in cold water. Muskrats live in domed houses called lodges that stand in shallow water often among cattails or other vegetation. Muskrats mostly eat plants. Plants, like cattails, make up 95% of their diet but they also occasionally eat fish and crayfish. If you find a pond where they live, you can stand quietly and watch these fascinating animals go about their watery lives.

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