Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters



Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus

The Common Muskrat lives on Salt Spring Island in ponds, wetlands and riparian areas. It is a medium large rodent with brown fur and a long black scaly tail. It has small front feet and hind feet that are slightly larger and webbed. It uses it’s vertically flattened tail like a rudder in the water while swimming. The muskrat is crepuscular, most active at dawn and dusk. They feed on vegetation and small crustaceans, frogs and fish. In the northern part of their range, they breed from March to August, and the female can have up to five litters per season of 2-9 young at a time. Similar to the beaver, they build a dome-shaped lodge out of vegetation with an underwater entrance. They range from Far North in Canada to the American-Mexican border.

Photo by Diane Hamilton