Muskrat Harmony

Muskrats eating roots on the ice at sunrise, February 21, 2016.

Muskrats eating roots on the ice at sunrise, February 21, 2016.

On February 21st, I went to the park to leave bird seed by the trees. The sunrise drew me to the pond. The warm temperatures had melted the ice around the edge of the pond. I saw a small dot on the other side of the ice further up the bank. It moved! A head appeared out of the water even further up the bank. A second muskrat swam under the ice to join the first one. Each time the muskrats dived under the water, I walked a little closer until I was standing across the ice from them.

They dove under the water to retrieve roots and then returned to the ice to eat them. Sometimes, the two muskrats stood apart when eating and, other times, they stood snuggled up next to one another. Once, I saw three muskrats in the water at the same time. There is one muskrat home in the narrow end of the pond and five or six in the marsh.

There is a short video of the muskrats after the photographs.

The sunrise, February 21, 2016.

The sunrise, February 21, 2016

A muskrat on the ice at sunrise, February 21, 2016.

A muskrat on the ice at sunrise, February 21, 2016.

Muskrats on the ice at sunrise, February 21, 2016.

Muskrats on the ice at sunrise, February 21, 2016.

Muskrats eating roots on the ice at sunrise, February 21, 2016.

Muskrats eating roots on the ice at sunrise, February 21, 2016.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A muskrat pushup in the narrow end of the pond, February 21, 2016.

A muskrat pushup in the narrow end of the pond, February 21, 2016.

Muskrats diving, swimming, and eating roots at sunrise, February 21, 2016.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Sarah

ps. If the internet connection is slow, one way to have a smooth playing of the video is to click the play button, then the pause button, and then wait a moment before clicking the play button again.

About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and story teller
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9 Responses to Muskrat Harmony

  1. zirah1 says:

    Who knew muskrats were such cuties?! And apparently not afraid of the cold at all….made me shiver just watching them go under the ice and swim around. Fun post!

    p.s. Beautiful pic of the sunrise.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Zirah πŸ™‚
      Thanks for visiting and your kind thoughts! I think the muskrats are a lot of fun to watch. πŸ™‚ They are expert swimmers. I was probably standing there for at least 45 minutes until my fingers got too cold. They were very busy eating! It was the first time there was any clear water in the pond since before the start of the year.
      I love watching the sunrise. I didn’t go to the park to look for the muskrats on that day like I have on some others. I wanted to leave bird seed by the trees on the west side of the park where I saw the robin. I was literally drawn east to the pond by the sunrise. And there the muskrats were in full view. I was surprised they didn’t move to a different spot when I was across the ice from them. My winter coat is bright medium blue. I don’t blend in. πŸ™‚ I know they saw me, but it seems on that day they decided my presence at their breakfast feast was okay. πŸ™‚

      • zirah1 says:

        How delightful! Sometimes the best things happen when we least expect or are looking for them. When I go for walks thru the neighborhood I usually try to bring a baggie w/ dog treats, Greenies (cat treats) and seeds and nuts, so I will be prepared to share w/ animals I run into along the way. Use to see a couple of wild turkeys regularly…..not sure if they will be around this yr, but last yr there was also a family w/ 10 little ones I’d see periodically and they weren’t so little after awhile. πŸ™‚

        • Sarah says:

          I imagine it was fun to see the wild turkeys and their young. πŸ™‚ I have only seen wild turkeys from far away a couple of times. They are big birds! I bet the animals keep a watch for you on your walks knowing you bring treats. πŸ™‚

  2. Shady_Grady says:

    My shepherd would find those animals “interesting”. I think it’s fun to be able to experience wildlife in the shrinking areas that we have. I guess the muskrats have a pretty good “coat” with natural oils to be able to withstand the cold water.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady πŸ™‚
      Thanks for visiting! It was just after sunrise on a Sunday morning when I was watching the muskrats. The people who walk their dogs in the park hadn’t shown up yet. I think as soon as they sense the dogs, they disappear. They are nocturnal animals so they might have been munching away at the roots for hours before I saw them. πŸ™‚ The day before the pond was frozen in the morning. Unfortunately, even though they aren’t supposed to, people let their dogs run off of their leashes in the park. I have seen dogs run through the marsh area and sniff around the muskrat homes there. Last winter, I saw part of one muskrat home destroyed, but I don’t know how it happened. The muskrats can stay under water a long time so I think they manage to out-maneuver the dogs. They have a double coat of fur which helps them stay warm in the cold water in addition to oil. I have wondered how the muskrats found the pond. When I moved here, the area was a corn field. The pond and marsh are only a few years old. For now, the muskrats have made it their own. πŸ™‚

  3. Interesting to see the muskrats. I have seen the mongoose twice now from my window. It goes up to a disused pond. When not so preoccupied with house and sleep I will have to set up a hide near this pond!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi πŸ™‚ I have seen pictures of mongooses but not one in person. A blind sounds like a good idea. πŸ™‚ I haven’t seen the muskrats since the day I took these photos. I see the rings in the water made by their breath under water. I think I saw a few push their noses above the water. They have the open water to swim under now and lots to eat. The day of the photos was one of the first days when there was a little bit of open water on the pond. I think the muskrats were very hungry. I was surprised they let me be so close. They were eating the roots of the plants along the edge of the pond. They would dive under the water and chew off a piece and then come up to the surface to eat it. Never mind about me standing there, it was time to break their fast or winter-limited diet! πŸ™‚

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