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Eating his Greens

Eating his Greens
Photo Information
Copyright: Rick Price (Adanac) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-05-05
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon 40D, Canon EF 600mm f4.0L IS USM
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-05-21 17:13
Viewed: 3353
Points: 24
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hi All,
Todays posting is a Muskrat we found in the Swan Lake flats area of Yellowstone on our recent trip.

Common Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus

Description A large rodent. Dense, glossy fur, dark brown above, lighter on sides; finer, softer, and paler below to nearly white on throat. Small dark patch occasionally on chin. Long tail scaly, nearly naked, laterally flattened (higher than wide) and tapering to a point. Hindfeet partially webbed and larger than forefeet. Eyes and ears small. L 16 1/8–24" (409–620 mm); T 7 1/8–12 1/8" (180–307 mm); HF 2 1/2 –3 1/2" (64–88 mm); Wt 1 1/4–4 lb (541–1,816 g).

Similar Species Round-tailed Muskrat is smaller, with round tail; found only in se Georgia and peninsular Florida. Nutria is larger, with round tail. American Beaver is much larger, with very large, paddle-shaped tail.

Breeding Breeds late winter through early September in North, year-round in South; 1–5 litters per year, each of 1–11 young; females often breed while still nursing; gestation 25–30 days.

Habitat Fresh, brackish, or saltwater marshes, ponds, lakes, rivers, and canals.

Range Most of Canada and U.S., except for Arctic regions, much of California, Southwest, Texas, and Florida.

Discussion The Common Muskrat is the largest rodent in its subfamily. Most active at dusk, at dawn, and at night, it may be seen at any time of day in all seasons, especially spring. An excellent swimmer, this aquatic rodent spends much of its time in water. Propelled along by its slightly webbed hindfeet and using its rudder-like tail for steering, the Common Muskrat can swim backward or forward with ease; it dislikes strong currents and avoids rocky areas. Its mouth closes behind protruding incisors, thus allowing it to chew underwater. It can remain submerged for long periods, and will travel great distances underwater. One individual was filmed underwater for 17 minutes, coming to the surface for air for 3 seconds, then submerging for another 10 minutes. The Common Muskrat eats mostly aquatic vegetation, such as cattails, sedges, rushes, water lilies, and pond weeds, along with some terrestrial plants. In some areas, this animal eats freshwater clams, along with crayfish, frogs, and fish. Ordinarily the muskrat tows food out to a feeding platform, which is littered with plant cuttings and other scattered food debris. Muskrat houses, or lodges, are similar to American Beaver lodges but much smaller. The muskrat adds to the house and feeding platform as long as they are used. The house usually shelters only one individual, although several may live together harmoniously except during the breeding season. The house is kept immaculately clean; fecal droppings are deposited on logs and rocks outside. Sometimes rather than build a house, the muskrat burrows into the bank along the water’s edge and constructs a bank den with several entrances, usually below water level except when the water is low. While a house commonly contains one nesting chamber with one or more underwater entrances, a bank den may have several chambers, each with one or more tunnels leading underwater. Scent posts covered with musky secretions from the perineal glands help muskrats identify each other by sex. Naked at birth, the young become furred about two weeks after birth, and can then swim and dive; in a month, they are weaned and are soon driven away by the mother. Droughts and flooding are common hazards faced by the Common Muskrat, leading to periodic population fluctuations. Overcrowding, especially when it occurs during fall or winter, causes fighting among individuals, forcing many to travel several miles overland to seek a new place to live. Common Raccoons, Minks, and humans are this rodent’s major enemies (the first two open muskrat houses to capture the young), although many other animals also prey upon it. Until the decline of the fur industry, muskrat fur was considered extremely desirable because it is durable and waterproof. In the 1980s, nearly 10 million muskrats were trapped annually. Their flesh, sold as "marsh rabbit," provides good eating, although its popularity has declined. Muskrats often cause damage to dams or levees with their tunneling activities; they may also feed upon crops.
from ENature.com

CeltickRanger, boreocypriensis, Argus, maurydv, ubc64, Art_R, Luis52, uleko, Noisette, tuslaw has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

hello Rick

tonight we are TN neighbors, excellent close-up photo
of the Common Muskrat on eating action, with fine POV,
fine focus excellent sharpness and details, beautiful to see
the wet body of the animal, TFS


I love the detail you got in the fur Rick. It's a warm picture as well. You framed it well and I like the colour contrast with the green. Nice shot! Trevor

Hi & Good Morning Rick,

What a cute muskrat that you caugh him while feeding MF. This is a wonderful work of the cute mammal. The details and colors of its wet furr are nicely captured. I like his facial expression looking happy:). There is nice separation from the background and exposure looks perfect.
TFS and have a nice day/WE MF!


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-05-21 22:05]

Hello Rick,
A great action shot showing a Muskrat eating reed shoots. At least without a converter the technical quality of this shot is superb.
The POV and composition are great too.
Thanks Rick and have a great weekend,

Hallo Rick,
another very beautiful capture from Yellowstone National Park, superb sharpness and marvellous colours, excellent POV and a very nice composition.
Have a good weekend

  • Great 
  • ubc64 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 76 W: 21 N: 208] (789)
  • [2010-05-21 23:32]

Hi Rick,

I wish that I could get a shot like that! When I see muskrats, they are either swimming or too far away. This photo is fabulous! It has it all: crisp details, natural colours and an attractive composition -- great environment too. Well done! TFS.


  • Great 
  • Art_R Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 244 W: 20 N: 839] (3892)
  • [2010-05-22 2:10]

Hi Rick , nice image of this feeding Muskrat , nice details ,color and composition. with a good view of the body too.

I trust there where no unfortunate attacks involved in this one :-)



  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-05-22 3:11]

Hello Rick,
Beautiful photo of this Muskrat. Too busy to notice you. Great POV and composition in beautiful natural colours and excellent sharpness.
Good weekend,

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-05-22 7:00]

Hola Rick.
I like this photo of the Muskart with his hair well combed backwards and eating a fresh grass.
Lovely and fine detais in all the photo. Great use of the sunlight and well focus.
TFS my friend and have a nice WE.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-05-22 9:57]

Hello Rick,
A really lovely capture of a Muskrat looking very content! I like the composition and details are very sharp. Lovely light and colours too and I like the 'wet look'!
TFS and best regards, Ulla

Hello Rick
a lovely capture of this muskrat, nice to see it in his natural habitat,
great details on his wet fur and superb composition
very well done

Hello Rick,
Nice scene with this small mammal well focused, taken with sharp details and nice natural colors. Well done!

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-05-24 19:46]

Hello Rick,
I see you didn't let your last episode with one of these little rodents scare you off from taking his picture. You managed to get a nice shot of him feeding on reeds. Great detail and beautiful natural colors. It's amazing how gorgeous their fur is when it is dry. I believe they are every bit as attractive as the more popular minks coat.

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