Sunday, January 27, 2013

Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)

Muskrat feeding in Jenney Pond
When you visit wetlands along rivers, lakes and ponds one of the interesting creatures that you may see is the muskrat. Muskrats are a medium-sized semi-aquatic rodent that is native to North America. It also has been introduced into parts of Europe, Asia and South America. Muskrats play a very important role in the ecology of wetlands. The eat almost any aquatic vegetation as well as some field crops that are adjacent to suitable habitat. Preferred natural foods include cattails, pickle weed, bulrush, smart weed, duck potato, horsetail, waterlily and other aquatic plants. Normally, when they see a person they will swim away or dive under the water. I have found when the muskrat is actively eating that it will give you a better chance to watch and photograph. They will use their claws like hands to put the vegetation into the mouth which they eat with their strong rodent teeth.
Muskrat feeding Daniel Webster Audubon Sanctuary

Muskrat feeding Daniel Webster Audubon Sanctuary

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