Wildlife Tracks
(Ondatra zibethicus)
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Muskrat Prints!

Mass: 800 - 1500 g
Length: to 24 in. (61 cm)
Biomes: temperate forest & rainforest, freshwater lake, freshwater rivers - Muskrats are found in wet environments, favoring locations with four to six feet of water. While muskrats are found in ponds, lakes, and swamps, their favorite locations are marshes, where the water level stays constant. They find shelter in bank burrows and their distinctive nests homes. Bank burrows are tunnels excavated in a bank. The nests of the muskrats are formed by piles of vegetation placed on top of a good base, for example a tree stump, generally in 15 to 40 inches of water (Baker, 1983).
Status: no special status.
Range: The muskrat is found in swamps, marshes, and wetlands from northern North America to the Gulf coast and the Mexican border. Early in the 20th century, muskrats were introduced to northern Eurasia (Baker, 1983)

Hiker's Note:
Muskrats have large, robust bodies, with a total body length of twelve and a half inches. The tail is flat and scaly and is nine and a half inches in length. Muskrats have dense fur that traps air underneath for insulation and buoyancy. Their heads are very large and their ears are almost invisible underneath the fur. The whiskers are mediun size. Adult muskrats have glossy upperparts that are dark brown, darker in winter and paler in the summer (Baker, 1983).

Muskrats have short legs and big feet; the back feet are slightly webbed for swimming. Hind print is about 3 in. (8 cm.) long; Both front and rear tracks show 5 toes.




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