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Mice Rats and Relatives: Muridae

Muskrat (ondatra Zibethicus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The muskrat has dark brown upperparts and light grayish brown underparts. Adult head and body length is 15.5 to 24.5 inches (40 to 62 centimeters) and weight is 1.1 to 4 pounds (0.55 to 1.82 kilograms).

Geographic range: They range in the western part of North America, and have also been introduced into Europe, Asia, and South America.

Habitat: Muskrats are found around water, specially rivers, lakes, marshes, and lagoons.

Diet: They eat aquatic plants, invertebrates, and small vertebrates.

Behavior and reproduction: Muskrats either dig burrows in earthen banks or build large floating lodges of vegetation. They sometimes Muskrats are typically found near water, and eat aquatic plants and small animals. (© Alan D. Carey/The National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission. ) live in families of several generations. Females have a gestation, pregnancy, period of twenty-five to thirty days, and then have a litter of four to eight young. Five or six litters are possible each year.

Muskrats and people: People hunt and raise muskrats for fur. They are often considered pests in some regions.

Conservation status: Muskrats are not threatened. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsMice Rats and Relatives: Muridae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Muskrat (ondatra Zibethicus): Species Accounts, Norway Lemming (lemmus Lemmus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, MICE RATS RELATIVES AND PEOPLE, CON