A bounty of muskbrats!

June 10th, 2016         0 comments

I’ve read muskrats can have up to four litters with up to nine kits per litter. That’s 360 muskrats per family and there are an estimated ten muskrat families on the Brighton millpond. That’s a total of adding 3,600 new muskrats on the pond each year. We don’t see anywhere near those extreme numbers. If we get more than a dozen kits reaching adulthood each year, I’d be surprised. Predators, medical conditions, and speeding cars surely take their toll.

With its tail behind it, this muskrat looks like a fuzzy potbelly pig

Over the past six years, I’ve seen no more than two dozen muskrat kits, about three per year. I’m sure many more are born at the pond, but I think parents keep them in burrows until they are big enough to forage by themselves and they grow to adult sized beings quickly.

We’ve had an embarrassment of riches this spring. I’ve already seen at least six of the little fuzz balls in the water and on shore. The one shown here was grazing on grass behind Brighton’s fire station #31 on Thursday. You may see three other kits eating vegetation while floating just north of the Tridge. They are from the same litter living in a burrow along the cemetery’s shore.

A baby muskrat catches me photographing it Muskrats of all ages graze on grass near the millpond

I couldn’t get close to this kit. He bolted into the water. The click-thru images aren’t large or detailed. Maybe the next time I see him, he’ll be more cooperative.

Inches from the shore, when danger threatens, muskrat kits dark into the water


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  • Douglas Peterson
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    You'll find information about the resident ducks, birds, and critters residing at the Brighton millpond. I slip in my art and poetry, but my photography of wildlife and plants is the primary focus.

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