Fieldnotes: Muskrats

If you build it, they will come.
Is this your typical muskrat habitat?

On Sunday, looking for more caterpillars and exuviae in Brooklyn Bridge Park, we ran into a couple of muskrats, Ondatra zibethicus, munching away on the new plantings.

Yes, we were surprised. One of the animals was a youngster, and some comments found at the Brooklyn Heights Blog suggest there are, or were, several babies.

Muskrats are mostly vegetarians. They are not unknown in contemporary Brooklyn (see Four Sparrow Marsh), for they are reputed to be a hardy and adaptable species, like Brooklynites in general. These seemed unperturbed by the crowds of people and dogs passing by. Typically, the majority of passersby didn’t notice — you’ll have noted the unhelpful attitude of the Heights blogger’s exclaiming that “actual wildlife” exists all around us. Such clliched thought merely encourages ignorance.

3 Responses to “Fieldnotes: Muskrats”


  1. 1 Out walking the dog October 6, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Adorable lil guys – nice photos. I am fond of muskrats. My father, not so much. We lived for a few years in Connecticut when I was a very little kid There was a small, wildlife-filled pond at the end of the grass. One year, muskrats took over, digging holes all along the bank and wrecking the grass. My dad borrowed a neighbor’s 22 rifle and sat out there for hours,trying to pop them off. Not sure if he got any. Now he wages on-going, gunless wars out on Long Island on phragmites and white-tail deer.


  1. 1 Cattails on high « Backyard and Beyond Trackback on April 2, 2011 at 8:34 am
  2. 2 Shifting baselines « Backyard and Beyond Trackback on April 15, 2011 at 8:40 am

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