Ondatra zibethicus

   The muskrat is a small rodent with a pointed, rat-like tail.  Despite weighing only 2-4 lbs (1-2 kg), the muskrat is one of nature’s construction workers. Muskrats will create “push-up” mounds throughout a body of water and form burrows along streambanks. Much like a beaver’s lodge, push-ups provide covered places for resting, breathing, and feeding. These push-ups can quickly become death traps during hard freezes; the path to a push-up containing fresh air may be blocked by ice, causing the muskrat to drown.

   Unlike the beaver, muskrats are more opportunistic as they will eat fish and shellfish, but prefer vegetation.