On my Friday kayak outing, I noticed an extraordinary Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) activity. When I arrived and launched the kayak, ~20 minutes before sunrise, I immediately saw several muskrats swimming about. A while later, I decided to sit and watch the activity to see what was going on. It didn’t take long! One pair of muskrats would swim out ~50 feet from their hut, dive, and stay underwater for ~30 seconds. They would then surface with a mouthful of nesting materials, which I immediately identified as some American Lotus stalks and lily pads from last year, with an occasional fresh Lotus pad (the American Lotus is just now beginning to lay down their pads and some shoots are even beginning to grow up out of the water). They would swim back to their hut with the material, diving as they approached the hut. After 1-2 minutes, they would repeat this activity. Looks like love in the air for the muskrats!
Here are a few images I took of the Muskrats in action:
And after several trips with nesting material, this Muskrat decided some “fresh cut greens” would be nice: