The muskrat - Wanted poster


Surname: Muskrat
Other names: Muskrat, Musk Rat, Water Rabbit, Dwarf Beaver
Latin name: Ondatra zibethicus
class: Mammals
size: 25 - 35cm
mass: 1 - 1,5kg
Older: usually only three years
Appearance: mostly black-brown coat
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: preferably herbivore (herbivor)
food: Water plants
distribution: North America, Europe, Asia
original origin: North America
Sleep-wake rhythm: twilight and diurnal
habitat: Bank areas of flowing and standing waters
natural enemies: Marten, fox
sexual maturity: still in the first year of life
mating season: July - Semptember
gestation: about 30 days
litter size: 4 - 8 cubs
social behavior: Family Association
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting facts about the muskrat

  • The muskrat or Ondrata zibethicus describes a species of rodent within the voles, which was originally native to the wetlands of the northern United States and Canada and is now widespread through naturalization in Asia and Europe.
  • Among the vultures, the muskrat is considered the largest worldwide representative.
  • The muskrat is also known in the German-speaking world as dwarf-beaver and musk-rat.
  • She owes her name musk rat to the fact that during the mating season, the males secrete an odoriferous musk reminiscent of musk to attract females.
  • The well-known name muskrat refers to the valuable coat of this vole species, which is highly sought after in the fur industry.
  • In the early 20th century, the first specimens arrived with hunters from North America to Bohemia, where they were abandoned and spread rapidly.
  • Today, the muskrat in Europe is regarded as a pest because it creates their cave systems in shore areas and thereby causes great damage to dams and dykes.
  • It reaches a body length of about 35 centimeters and has a tail up to 25 inches long and a squat, neckless body and short head.
  • The water-repellent coat can be colored black, brown or gray.
  • The muskrat with its closable ear and nose openings and floating bristles on the toes is perfectly adapted to life in the water.
  • The muskrat inhabits riparian regions of rivers, streams and lakes, where it creates so-called bisamburgen, widely distributed systems of caves and corridors.
  • In the summer it feeds on aquatic plants, in winter on roots, crabs and snails.
  • In the spring and summer months, the female brings after a gestation period of one month up to nine blind pups in the world, which are well-reared in the Bisamburgen.
  • Muskrats represent an important food source for Uhus, foxes, otters and other predators.
  • One of their enemies is also the man who hunts the muskrat for its fur and targeted as a pest.
  • The life expectancy of muskrat is a maximum of three years, whereby it does not die of old age, but of starvation.
  • This is because their teeth wear out so much in the course of their lives that they can hardly chew after two years and thus can not absorb any food.