Surprise in the Pond

We spend a lot of time by the river and the attached outlet pond. Every time I go I see something new. I’ve seen a marmot, deer, geese, ducks and other birds, and last weekend two muskrats building their lodge. At first I thought they were beavers. I kept hearing splashing in the pond and I couldn’t figure out what was making them. We moved our chairs and tripods a bit closer to the pond and waited. After a few minutes, and a few warning squeaks they continued their activities. As long as we stayed a good distance back and sat somewhat still they didn’t seem to mind us sitting there. We watched them dive, eat, and chew off branches and take them underwater to their lodge. Muskrats are very similar to beavers. Below are some facts about each that I found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.

Beaver Facts 

  • Are largest rodents in North America
  • Can weigh up to 100 lbs. but most are between 35-68 pounds
  • Measure 39-47 inches long
  • Tail measures 10-13 inches long and 3.5-8 inches wide, large and flat covered in scales and has no hair on it.
  • Swim with bodies mostly under water
  • Use mostly wooden material like sticks and logs to make lodges
  • Only beavers make dams which help create aquatic habitats for a variety of animals

Muskrat Facts

  • Weigh between 2-5 pounds
  • Measure 16-25 inches in length
  • Tail measures 7-12 inches long, long and skinny like a rat tail 
  • Swim with their heads, backs, and tails exposed in the water
  • Muskrats use vegetation like cattails as well as small sticks in their lodges

Here are some of the muskrat pictures from last weekend:)