Saw this little mammal swimming towards a small peninsula in the pond. At first I thought it was a muskrat, then well maybe a mink and then it was back to a muskrat again.
Once it came out onto land, I could see it was a muskrat but a very very wet muskrat, with some pond sediment probably mixed into its fur, which probably accounts for its dark colouring. The pond shoreline has some low spots where the muskrat was swimming.
It then spent the next 45 minutes, grooming with intermittent breaks for eating and nibbling and then back to grooming again. From its size (and cuteness), I believe it to be a youngster. It's actually the first muskrat I have seen at this particular pond in some time.
From the sequence of the following photographs, you can see the transition from "gremlin" to "hedgehog" and then the final transformation to the traditional muskrat.