My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Muskrat [Video]

Muskrat
Muskrat smiling for the camera

Yesterday while looking for some Waterfowl . . . we came across this very cooperative Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) who put a show on for us. We watched it dive underwater, grab some vegetation from under the ice and come back up to chew all of the best parts of the plant. We could have watched this cute little guy all day long! These over-sized rodents get their name from some scent glands they have for marking its territory with a strong musky odor! Lucky we didn’t get to smell that odor today but did get some cool photos of the muskrat!

Mike and I were talking about this little guy after capturing the above video of this Muskrat. We laughed after I said something like “to understand nature you need to sit back and watch its behaviors . . . but if we want to get more than 40 species, we need to keep on moving!!!”! This comment brought back many older memories of us wanting to stay behind to watch whatever cool thing we had found . . . but needed to walk away to continue the count we were participating in! Have you ever had one of those moments where you could have watched a particular critter day long if given the opportunity???

Muskrat with Dinner
Muskrat with mouth full of vegetation

BTW: I had my first Common Grackle Today (CHECK)!


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28 responses

  1. Wonderful video! Turned out great, congrats on the Common Grackle!

    16 March 2008 at 7:00 pm

  2. Oh, what a cute little thing — yes — I could stay and watch everything all day! It can be a problem for sure – haha. Enjoyed the video and I liked the shot with his mouth full – very cool!

    16 March 2008 at 7:10 pm

  3. That’s a great video…and a very accommodating muskrat =) Looks like it wasn’t too long or hard of a winter for him… Nice sound track, too!

    16 March 2008 at 7:45 pm

  4. Oh, yes, Tom. I’ve had to walk away from enjoying a particular critter when the word goes out from further down the boardwalk that someone’s spotted a ‘good bird’ :0)

    Otherwise – I take my sweet time.

    I love the video of the little muskrat. He must be pretty hungry after a long (did I say LONG?) winter.

    16 March 2008 at 7:56 pm

  5. Oh yeah, I could watch certain nature things all day long! It’s just sooo relaxing. Congrats on the grackle! Great photos and video, as always Tom!

    16 March 2008 at 8:08 pm

  6. Lisa at Greenbow

    I have those moments every time we go birding. I always find something that captures my attention. This video is great. I have never seen a muskrat eat. They are usuallyswimming along their way through a pond. What was that noise in the background? A frog croaking or your stomach demanding lunch?

    16 March 2008 at 8:19 pm

  7. Ahhhh….Muskrat love. Can’t say I love’em. A Maryland muskrat took up residence in my backyard pond. Chewed holes in the liner and drained the pond. Critter cost me $700. They’re cute, though!

    16 March 2008 at 8:38 pm

  8. I like the little surprises you come across while birding.-Great video!-I will have to learn how to edit videos the way you do.-Brings to mind the famous Captain and Tenille song “Muskrat Love”.

    16 March 2008 at 8:40 pm

  9. It’s usually me who wants to move on, and Hubby who lingers… and he’ll see more than I do, almost every time!

    16 March 2008 at 9:36 pm

  10. Great video Tom, we have a large pop. of these here in Southern Indiana, also an ever increasing beaver pop as well. :)

    16 March 2008 at 9:59 pm

  11. @ YNJ – thanks and I knew it was only a matter of time that they arrive!
    @ Barb – thanks and it always seems like things need to be done and only wish I could stay and watch for hours!
    @ Rondi – thanks and on many occasions nature is accommodating! They were doing great for sure! Thanks
    @ Cathy – thanks and loved watching this muskrat also! We all could use more hours in the day enjoying the nature around us! Thanks
    @ Pam – I know exactly what you are saying! Thanks!
    @ Lisa – why is it that we all are in such a hurry! I would love a few days to just enjoy everything around me without needing to do whatever! Those are Canada Geese and you can also hear a Red-winged Blackbird mixed in there.
    @ Mary – Muskrats are or can be very bad with doing all kinds of damage! I would understand if you have bad thoughts about these guys!
    @ Larry – Always seem to find more surprises than the birds we are after! LOL but I do enjoy it also! Do plan more video’s this year!! BTW: I am using Vegas Movie Studio!
    @ Rurality – lol and sometimes I am like that also! Keep on going and can’t wait to see what will be found next!
    @ Bernie – Thanks and they seem to be in big numbers everywhere! I plan on getting some beaver shots here soon!

    16 March 2008 at 10:57 pm

  12. What a cool critter! I’ve never seen one! Thanks for sharing!

    16 March 2008 at 11:32 pm

  13. I’ve never seen one in person so that was a real treat. They really do look like big rats. But he looked cute eating. I was fishing once in Oil Creek when a mink came out of the woods within about 30 ft from where we were fishing. It went into the water and started scavenging for crayfish. I could have watched it all day had it stayed all day.

    17 March 2008 at 1:40 am

  14. Yes, I could sit all day and watch nature if given the opportunity. When we lived out in the country, we used to put food out for the wild critters (I know, a big n0-no) and then pull the chairs up to the big picture window and watch them creep up and feast. Much better than television.

    17 March 2008 at 5:04 am

  15. Never thought a muskrat could be cute, but your photos make him look like a warm, fuzzy guy! :c)

    17 March 2008 at 9:22 am

  16. @ Liza – thanks and they are neat little things but can be bad also!
    @ Linda – they are cute and they are commonly found in wetlands! I would have loved to see that mink! Thanks
    @ Sherry – It can be sometimes better than tv! When I was a kid we enjoyed watching the raccoons get sprayed by the Skunks!
    @ Jayne – ya, go figure! I guess they all have their own moments! Thanks

    17 March 2008 at 12:10 pm

  17. Very cool! Down here we have nutria (huge, S. American rats, more or less.)

    17 March 2008 at 4:44 pm

  18. Yes! I’ve had those moments. And one of them was watching a muskrat. S/he was culling flowers from the lawn and swimming along with flowers in her/his mouth. They are such industrious beings. Thanks for this.

    17 March 2008 at 6:00 pm

  19. Marg

    So cute!! I watched a Muskrat one day while banding when we were very slow and it was such fun.

    Check for Grackle for me too-last week ;D

    17 March 2008 at 6:10 pm

  20. Never thought a muskrat could be cool. Nice video!!!

    17 March 2008 at 6:37 pm

  21. OMG, I have to watch this again! Such an amazing video, Tom! I had a big grin on my face the whole time. I just love the sound of the geese in the background, too. :D

    17 March 2008 at 7:16 pm

  22. Wonderful blog. I really enjoyed everything on this site. I will be back. Check out my posts about Nature in Iowa is you get a chance.

    17 March 2008 at 7:21 pm

  23. Grace

    Great post. Muskrats are cute, and they have very soft fur. Was this on swamp Road?

    17 March 2008 at 11:23 pm

  24. what a fabulous guy…! So intent on task. (Wish I had that ability to concentrate so well…) great work.

    18 March 2008 at 3:45 pm

  25. They seem to be quiet little critters, don’t they? Aren’t they usually shy, too? I saw one last year while birding at the Palo Alto Baylands Park, got a quick picture, then moved on to more birding. Sound familiar? ;o)

    18 March 2008 at 9:23 pm

  26. @ Lana – thanks and very large Rat!
    @ Caroline – Thanks and love moments like this!
    @ Marg – thanks and glad you also had the grackle!
    @ John – thanks and all critters have their own way of being cool! Even the unliked kind!
    @ Lisa – Glad you enjoyed this and starting to sound like spring!
    @ Travis – thanks and glad you enjoyed this! Will go check out!
    @ Grace – thanks and looks very soft! Yep in Randolph!
    @ aullori – Thanks and this guy was very in-focus!
    @ Mary – I think they are! The ones I normally see are very camera shy! Thanks

    18 March 2008 at 10:49 pm

  27. Fun to watch, but I got kinda shivery just thinking about how cold that water must be!

    20 March 2008 at 9:37 pm

  28. Such a cute little fella and such a hard worker! Video nicely done. Loved the water effects when he shook. Thanks!

    25 March 2008 at 11:01 pm

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