If you like nature and you like the muskrat, you might want go and look at some streams and safe canals because that's where they like to live. The muskrat and the beaver are from the same family. Muskrats belong to the Cricetidae family. They walk on four legs like most mammals do. The muskrat has little hairs that are waterproof, and the hair that is called protective guard hair is long and brown. The muskrat has webbed feet for swimming. They burrow in the banks of a river or in marshes. They are farmed sometimes as their furs are valuable. They have families of six in a litter. The muskrat is a lot like the beaver but is a few inches smaller. The muskrat is also brown. If these differences are not apparent then finding any genetic materials such as fur or droppings or even any blood for a blood test might be a solution if you need to identify the animal.


Physical Characteristics

"Identification: Head and body 10 - 14 in. (25 - 36 cm); tail 8 - 11 in. (20 - 28 cm); wt. 2 - 4 lb. (908 - 1816 g). Fur dense, rich brown, overlaid with coarse guard hair; belly silvery; tail long, naked, scaly, and black; flattened from side to side. Character of tail alone is sufficient to distinguish the Muskrat from all other mammals. Their presence in marshes may be detected by the conical houses, 2 - 3 ft. (61 - 91 cm) above water, which are built of marsh vegetation. Skull...has 16 teeth. There are 6 mammae."(1)


"Marshes, edges of ponds, lakes, and streams; cattails, rushes, water lillies, open water."(1)



"Feeds on aquatic vegetation, also clams, frogs, and fish on occasion."(1)

Reproductive Characteristics

"Breeds April - Aug. in North, in winter in South.

Young: Usually 5 - 6 (1 - 11); gestation period 22 - 30 days; 2 - 3 litters a year. Naked, blind."(1)


"Chiefly aquatic; moves overland, especially in autumn....Builds house in shallow water; also burrows in banks; entrances usually underwater; 1 family to each house....

Economic status: One of our most valuable fur animals; may cause some damage to dikes by burrowing."(1)




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