|by Marcia Malory|
The muskrat is an aquatic rodent whose native habitat is the marshes and streams of North America.
It has also been introduced to South America, Europe and Asia.
The muskrat is well adapted to an aquatic lifestyle, with webbed hind feet and a flat tail that acts like a rudder.
Its fur is waterproof and dense, providing insulation from the cold.
Muskrats eats water plants, frogs, fish and mussels.
A muskrat's large, domeshaped home is known as a lodge.
A muskrat builds its lodge by rolling wet reeds and other plants into bundles and then piling them between growing reeds, bending the tops over to form a roof.
The lodge has one well-hidden entrance near the edge of the water.
The muskrat gets its name from the musky odor that is produced by the two scent glands at the base of its tail. It uses these scent glands to mark its territory.
Muskrats are usually between 16 inches and 2 feet long, and usually weigh between 1 ½ and 4 pounds.
They are valued for their fur.