Wild Guide: Common Muskrat

By MDC | February 1, 2024
From Missouri Conservationist: February 2024

The common muskrat is a medium-sized mammal that has short front legs with small feet, stronger hind legs with large, partially webbed feet, and a vertically flattened, scaly tail that is slightly shorter than the combined length of its head and body. 

Muskrats are semiaquatic, living in marshes, sloughs, streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. They dig homes in a stream or pond bank or build large houses out of vegetation in the shallow water. The nest, or den, is reached by means of a tunnel that usually opens under water.

Did You Know?

As omnivores, muskrats help control populations of both the plants and the small animals they consume. The dens, mounds, tunnels, and canals they construct become habitat for other organisms to use.


This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
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