Common Muskrat

A common muskrat forages in a wetland outside of Belgrade.

The common muskrat is found in wetlands, rivers and streams in the Gallatin Valley. A member of the mouse and rat family, the common muskrat has dense brown fur and a silver belly. Muskrat are typically 10 inches tall and up to 24 inches in length. They have partially webbed hind feet, which make them excellent swimmers, and a long, scaly flat tail that tapers to a point.

Muskrat breed between April and September and have litters of six to seven young. Like beavers, muskrat build lodges out of twigs, cattails and mud that may rise up to three feet above the surface of the water. Muskrat build burrows in the stream bank to access their lodges.

Muskrat are active both during the day and night and can commonly be seen in wetlands feeding on aquatic vegetation.