Muskrat

Nice to spot an aquatic mammal on the Swale!

 

It’s been a while since we’ve seen any furred fauna on Glencoe Swale. Up until recently, the only ones who seemed content with this Spring’s lower water levels have been the Mallard ducks.

This mother attentively took her two ducklings on an explore to locate tasty patches of duckweed.

 

 

Meanwhile, an industrious muskrat was busy collecting various types of vegetation. First a bunch of grass was ferried from one place to another. Muskrats eat a wide variety of plants, including cattails, sedges, bulrush, arrowhead, water lilies, pondweed, and ferns.

 

 

Muskrats normally feed within 150 feet of their main dwellings; however, they will travel much farther in search of food. Long distance travel was not a worry for this particular muskrat. The distance it traveled from a food source to the destination where it traveled was much less than 150 feet.

 

 

Here,  muskrat goes again. This time with a bunch of Yellow Hawkweed stems. Muskrats make a valuable contribution to aquatic communities. By harvesting plants for food and den sites, they create open water for ducks, geese, shorebirds, and other wildlife.

 

 

Muskrats are a symbol of adaptability and transformation. Those are two traits that are helpful in our wetland habitat as water levels have been at extreme highs and lows over the past six months.

 

 

 

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