Encyclopedia

Technical Info.


Canchilla

Shadow Fur

wanger furs
Please wait while JT SlideShow is loading images...
Muskrat

 

muskrat muskrat muskrat

 

An adult muskrat is about 40 to 60 cm (16 to 24 inches) long, almost half of that tail, and weighs from 0.7 to 1.8 kg (1.5 to 4 lb). That is about four times the weight of the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus), though an adult muskrat is only slightly longer. Muskrats are much smaller than beavers (Castor canadensis), with whom they often share their habitat. Adult beavers weigh from 14 to 40 kg (30 to 88 lb). The nutria (Myocastor coypus) was introduced to North America from South America in the early twentieth century. It shares the muskrat's habitat but is larger, 5 to 10 kg (11 to 22 lb) and its tail is round, not flattened. It cannot endure as cold a climate as can the muskrat and beaver, and so has spread only in the southern part of their ranges in North America.

Muskrats are covered with short, thick fur which is medium to dark brown in color with the belly a bit lighter. The fur has two layers, which helps protect them from the cold water. They have long tails which are covered with scales rather than hair and are flattened vertically to aid them in swimming. When they walk on land the tail drags on the ground, which makes their tracks easy to recognize.

 

muskrat muskrat

 

Muskrats spend much of their time in the water and are well suited for their semi-aquatic life, both in and out of water. Muskrats can swim under water for up to 15 minutes. Their bodies, like those of seals and whales, are less sensitive to the build up of carbon dioxide than those of most other mammals. They can close off their ears to keep the water out. Their hind feet are semi-webbed, although in swimming the tail is their main means of propulsion. While most muskrats have brown fur, some with reddish brown, the black muskrat exists in New Jersey and Virginia. The fur is nearly black with light gray under belly. Most of these muskrats exist in marshes near salt water , although some have been trapped in fresh water lakes.

 

muskrat muskrat



Back to Encyclopedia of furs