Saturday, June 6, 2009

Baby Muskrat

On a recent jaunt to Kelleys Island, OH, I found a baby muskrat that was not at all afraid of people. I was able to get very close and take some shots while it snacked away on a plant. Common Muskrats, Ondatra zibethicus, are mostly herbivores, usually eating plants. They feast on aquatic vegetation, but will occasionally eat small fish, frogs, clams, mussels and crayfish. This one was seen later in the day chowing down on a fish that had washed up on shore. They normally do not eat in the water. They will drag their food up on the bank or to a feeding platform they have constructed. This allows them to eat and still be wary of predators.

Num, Num, Num- I am not looking at you, human! You cannot share my nums.

Muskrats have some amazing features. The tail is bilaterally flattened. While a beaver's tail is flat on the top and bottom, a muskrats is flattened on the sides. The rudder-like tail and the slightly webbed feet allows the muskrat to swim effortlessly backwards and forwards and at speeds up to three miles an hour. Their dense fur coat is waterproof and traps air that contributes to their buoyancy.

Look at that face! But it also built for living in the water. Their small ears can be closed under water and their lips can close and seal behind their incisors. This feature allows them to nip vegetation under the surface without getting a mouthful of water. They can stay under water up to fifteen minutes!

They are fairly common in Indianapolis, but are crepuscular mostly, meaning they usually come out at dusk and dawn. Check out the waterways near you for this amazing little critter!

Check out more Camera Critters at Misty Dawn's site here.



Anya said...

Sooooo CUTE :)
Lovely shots.
Lovely blog you have !!
Have a nice weekend

James said...

That's a great critter photo. I've never seen a muskrat but I bet "Muskrat Love" will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day. :-)

i beati said...

can't remember the last I saw Sandy

dAwN said...

Great post and information on the little muskrat critter..

Thanks for adding the email subscription ..I added both of your blogs..

Shelley Munro said...

I've never seen a muskrat before. His webbed feet are cute. Great photo.

Joy said...

Pretty great photo story!

Anonymous said...

Aww..So cute. I love muskrats!

Anonymous said...

I La-la-la-LOOOOOOOVE Muskrats. They so cute(: They purty pimpin' too!! LOVE the blog!!