Who's this wetland architect?
What’s brown, furry, builds lodges, and has two large, sharp front teeth for chewing plants? Nope, not a beaver... it's a muskrat!
Often forgotten about, muskrats are just as important to the health of a wetland than beavers. As they chow down on cattails and other floating vegetation, they naturally create trails and lower-density areas in the marsh that are used by other larger animals (e.g. ducks, otters, etc) to move around. Without the constant nibbling from muskrats, the cattails would grow too thick and dense and become impenetrable to other animals.
Want to learn how you can help keep wetlands healthy too? Check out our Caring for Your Wetland page for stewardship tips and photos of different types of wetlands! (pssst- they don't all have cattails in them!)
Bonus fact: despite their rat-like appearance and beaver-like behaviour, muskrats are actually very closely related to the tiny field mouse!