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A few weeks ago, as the ice on the creek still was breaking up, we came across this fuzzy Muskrat sitting on a muddy back grooming himself. I imagine it must have just woken up from the long winter hibernation and was doing his “spring cleaning” of the fur. Muskrats are often found in association with beavers, and indeed, further down on the same muddy bank there were two adult beavers Also busy grooming themselves. While both Muskrats and beavers are rodents, they are not particularly closely related. Contrary to what the name suggests, Muskrats are not a species of rat. It’s closest relative are mice, voles and lemmings. It is basically a large field mouse adapted to an aquatic life. I was on the opposite side of the creek when I spotted it. Over the next few minutes I managed to slowly sneak through the vegetation until I was at the water’s edge right across from it, no more than 10 m away. While the both the Muskrat and the beavers must have known I was there, they completely ignored me and just minded their own business. While I have seen Muskrats before, this was the first time I have been able to study one this closely for an extended period.
May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog (www.thebirdsarecalling). Copyright Mario Pineda.