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Transcript of Biology Presentation
The scientific name for the muskrat is Ondatra zibethicus. They are native of North America but can also be found in South America, Asia, and Europe. Though its name suggests it, the muskrat is not in fact a rat.
Muskrats mostly eat water vegetation, which includes water lilies. Once the food is collected, the muskrat finds a safe spot out of the water to eat it.
A female muskrat can have up to nine kits in a litter
If it is warm enough, muskrats can mate year round. Normally muskrats mate in the spring and summer.
At ten days old kits are fully capable of swimming and at around 20 days old they are no longer nursed by their mothers. At this time the kit is no longer considered a kit and goes off to create its own home. At a year old they start creating their own families.
Evolution is inevitable for a species to survive this ever-changing world. Muskrats have also evolved. Though it is difficult to tell at first glance, muskrats have webbed feet (Nature Works, 2013). These special feet help them navigate the waters in the marshlands that they live in. The muskrats webbed feet also make it a very fast swimmer in water which helps enable it to escape certain predators, like humans, while they are in the water. Another interesting adaptation that the muskrat has is its amazing tail. The muskrat’s tail is long, hairless, and covered in scales (Nature Works, 2013). This, along with its webbed feet, enable the muskrat to be a great swimmer.
Since muskrats spend a lot of their time in water, it is no surprise that most of their predators are water animals. Some of these predators include snakes, alligators, otters, and snapping turtles. However, muskrat’s biggest predator is humans.
Why Are Muskrats Hunted?
Muskrats are hunted for a few reasons, but the biggest being for their fur and for being a nuisance to some people (Buzzle, 2011). Since the muskrat’s habitat has been overtaken by humans, many muskrats look to burrow homes in places like ponds, dikes, and dams. Muskrats have the ability to live for up to eight years but, due to predators, muskrats have an average lifespan of two to three years in the wild (Buzzle, 2011).
Muskrats sometimes create their homes in tunnels that they have burrowed. Muskrats can also make their homes in the water, and their claws help assist with that (Nature Works, 2013).
Buzzle. (2011). Muskrat Facts. Retrieved Sep 6, 2013, from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/muskrat-facts.html
Nature Works. (2013). Common Muskrat. Retrieved Sep 6, 2013, from http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/muskrat.htm
Rat Breeding Guide. (2006). Female Reproductive System. Retrieved Sep 6, 2013, from http://ratguide.com/breeding/anatomy/female_reproductive_system.php