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Ondatra zibethicus

Common Name: Common Muskrat
Ondatra zibethicus
Ondatra zibethicus

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Cricetidae
Genus: Ondatra
Species: Ondatra zibethicus

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Muskrats are around a foot long and a glossy brown color. Their tail is black and hairless.

Their hind tracks are 2" long and partially webbed. Their front tracks are 1" long, and their tail drags as they walk.

Habitat & Range

Muskrats live in marshes, ponds, streams, and lakes across Canada and the US with the exception of the Southwest. They are also introduced in Europe.


Homes are made out of marsh vegitation and are round in shape. Muskrats eat various aquatic plants including the stems, roots, and leaves. They also eat other aquatic life such as clams, frogs, and fish.

Muskrats are active at dawn, dusk, and night and are active year-round. They spend much of their time in the water and are excellent swimmers.

Life Cycle

Muskrats live to 3 or 4 years in the wild, but can reach 10 years old. They breed in early spring through summer, and have litters between 6-7 young.

Featured image: James Phelps.


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