Montana Outdoors

July 11, 2007

More on muskrats

Filed under: Animals, Environment, Montana, Muskrats, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — montucky @ 7:01 pm

Getting photos of wild critters in their natural habitat usually isn’t easy, and that’s the case also for muskrats. They are very alert to sound and movement, blend in very well with the terrain along the pond or creek bank and will quickly dive below the surface upon becoming alarmed. A few days ago I was able to get a few glimpses of them in this setting,

Muskrat pond

and because of the great colors reflected on the water, I posted them. (Now you can see where all the color came from.) This pond is a hundred feet or so off a small stream. Yesterday I visited it again and got several more shots of the little rats,



including this one of a large adult (large being relative…they only get up to about 4 pounds). He would dive into the pond, stay submerged for about a minute, reappear and sit at the water’s edge eating whatever it was that he brought up from the bottom of the pond. I watched him do it a half dozen times before I could get a decent picture.


Today in a fairly still section of the stream I caught a glimpse of a smaller muskrat. There was no good cover in which I could hide, but a fence was strung past that part of the stream, and when the little rat went underwater, I was able to position myself directly behind one of the fence posts so that my head was no more than about a foot above it. Thusly positioned, when the little guy reappeared I was able to convince him that I was nothing more than a tall fence post.

When he traveled, he was always in the water near the bank and if one wasn’t looking for him one would not notice him.


He was having his breakfast, which today consisted of plants that grew up on the bank instead of underwater. He would hurry up the bank a few feet, cut off a section of a plant, and return quickly to the edge of the water to eat it.


Sadly enough, these interesting, harmless little creatures have long been trapped for their very valuable fur.

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