Photo by Bob Gress
Total Length: 19-23 inches
Tail Length: 8-10 inches
Weight: 1.5-3.5 pounds
Common muskrats are water-dwelling rodents. Well adapted to aquatic
life, they have partially webbed feet, a vertically flattened scaly tail and dense,
waterproof fur. Their cone-shaped "houses" made of damp vegetation can be 5 feet
across and 4 feet high. They also construct bank burrows with underwater entries. Muskrats
forage mostly in the twilight hours and at night. They are often mistaken for small
beavers when swimming. Tracks show footprints with a tail drag mark. Females can bear up
to three litters per year with 2-9 kits per litter. Maximum longevity in the wild is 4
Common muskrats live in nearly all aquatic habitats from the southern United States
through Alaska. They are found throughout Kansas in marshlands, ponds, lakes and slow
moving rivers and streams.
Common muskrats feed on aquatic plants, fish, crayfish, snails, mussels and
occasionally on eggs and young birds.
Other Kansas Rodents
Return to the Mammal's Den!
Text: George Potts and Bob Gress
Design: Jim Mason