Greater Moncton Pest Control Commission
The muskrat is widely distributed across North America and can be found throughout New Brunswick. Muskrats are adapted to live near water in freshwater marshes, streams and ponds. The muskrat’s fur is glossy brown and waterproof, protecting the animal from cold temperatures by preventing heat loss from the body.
The diet of the muskrat consists of vegetation such as cattails, bulrushes and roots of various water plants. They have also been known to eat frogs, clams, crayfish, and snails when their normal food sources become scarce or unavailable.
Muskrat huts are constructed using cattails, bulrushes, and grasses held together with mud. They can also live in burrows in the side of banks when these materials are not available. The hut consists of a main nesting chamber and a number of underwater tunnels for entering and exiting the hut.
Muskrat huts serve as an indicator of increased stagnant water pools due to the channel burrowing habits of these animals. Muskrats make channels leading to and from their huts and generally all throughout their territories. These channels make ideal breeding locations for mosquitoes. By monitoring the distribution of huts the commission can anticipate where larvae concentrations will be higher in each season.
Most of the marshes are monitored on foot with the exception of Morton Pond and the Ducks Unlimited wetlands, which are monitored by canoe. Data collected includes the hut’s height and width, depth of water, pond size, hut activity, surrounding vegetation, and vegetation used in construction.