"MUSKRAT ON ICE" - Muskrat

March 01, 2023  •  1 Comment


Muskrat - 11 Photos



Muskrats are, not only the cousins to our North American Beaver, but also to the European Water Vole. In fact, "Ratty" in the children's story, "The Wind in The Willows" was actually a water vole and not a rat.


It's so unfortunate to have "rat" in your name, particularly when you are a relative to the beaver & cohabitate with them in their lodges. And it has been documented that muskrats do not live "rent free" in beaver lodges. They actually assist with interior lodge repair, placing mud on holes in the structures, etc. Quite often, while watching in the early evening for beavers to appear, I have seen a muskrat exit the lodge first, usually sometime before the beavers. Perhaps, an early scouting trip to ensure an "all clear"?


This large muskrat had been swimming up and down a river channel, when it decided to relax, eat & groom on an ice shelf close to shore. It made periodic ventures into the water to obtain new shoots to return to the same ice shelf and enjoy. Being so large, I am thinking it was actually "Dad" to the muskrat clan in this area & on a previous weekend, I had counted up to seven swimming back and forth and diving under the water.


Muskrats, like beavers, do not have great eyesight, depending more on their hearing & sense of smell. There were various waterfowl feeding in the channel & I don't know why but one particular Mallard Duck decided to continually feed close to the ice shelf where the muskrat was sitting (Photo #11) and eventually on one foray into the water, the muskrat & the duck had a head on collision. I can understand a muskrat with low vision having such an encounter but what was the duck's excuse! :) 


Well after a quick attempted nip by the duck, Muskrat decided there were quieter & less controversial rest areas & went downriver to find a more secluded spot.















Lovely photos of the handsome "dad"!
Beautifully photographed shimmering fur and details of the face.
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