Muskrats of Huntley Meadows

April 28, 2010

Visits to Huntley Meadows always seem to follow a theme. In previous trips there has been a dominant presence of geese, of blackbirds, of toads, of frogs, and now – muskrats.

The muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) are relatively skiddish, but they seem to find comfort in the reeds. With a good position and a bit of patience, some nice moments can unfold near you.

Last week as I surveyed the area along the boardwalk, I first saw a muskrat nearly ten feet out near dense vegetation. As I moved and found windows through the cattails, the creature moved deeper into cover. After some time, I positioned myself in a good location and decided to wait it out. Slowly, it made an approach that crossed my line of sight. I made a few images, but wasn’t satisfied.

Minutes later it began to rip apart vegetation on the other side of the boardwalk, and I was able to have the perfect vantage point.

Passing visitors eventually spooked the creature, but I saw at least five others in the same general area.

Worth noting, how do you tell a beaver and a muskrat apart? The easiest way it the tail, visible in the shot above.

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One Response to “Muskrats of Huntley Meadows”


  1. […] Other sightings from the day included numerous frogs and toads, but none of the typical beavers or muskrats. […]


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