NANFA-- Muskrats was hellbenders

R. W. Wolff (
Thu, 8 Jan 2004 16:56:47 -0600

If you commonly see small muskrats, and have ever seen some large wild
Norway rats, the comparison in size is understandable.

Muskrats I would agree are not much to look at, but if you look at a
squirrel when soaking wet.... it's all a matter of perception. Musk"RAT"
doesn't help either. I don't mind them other than that tail and those
orange teeth.

Muskrats build amazing homes, lodges, similar to beavers. They are generally
made out of cattails instead of large branches. I should get some photos of
them and put up on the web site. Now that the cold , wind etc. has knocked
down many of the cattail stands, the myriad of lodges are easy to see. They
also have a habit of burrowing into shore, and can cause a lot of trouble
there. Destroying dikes and levees, and cause pit fall traps for those
walking the bank. In the spring you can find these tunnels by looking for
piles of mussel and snail shells scattered in a line going away from the

Some benefits to their activities is keeping holes open in the ice, and
their burrows are refuge for many small fish and other animals, especially
if they are abandoned. Not to mention helping some crustaceans keep
rampantly spreading cattails in check.

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