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Muskrats Mating

4-29-14 mating muskrats2  099 Muskrats breed year round in southern U.S., but in New England ice-out usually determines when they first breed. These largely monogamous rodents take to the water to copulate after a mad chase that often lasts several minutes. Successive breedings take place all summer. By the time one litter is weaned and independent (about four weeks), the mother is about to give birth again. Several litters of five or six young are produced each year, with the mother caring for her young up until they are weaned, and the father then taking over.

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6 responses

  1. Bill On The Hill...

    Must be on a pond? I see a pond lily in the BG.
    The male appears much larger than the female in this photo, whereas with amphibians the reverse is true? Bill…

    April 29, 2014 at 1:41 pm

  2. dellwvt

    I may be in a strange mood this morning, but this story struck me as a very sweet image of family life – partner loyalty, and parental role-sharing . . .

    April 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm

  3. Bob and Inge

    Poor mom!

    Best, and thanks,

    Inge A. from Amherst

    April 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm

  4. Given those reproduction numbers, I would think we’d be teeming with muskrats, but we aren’t. So what keeps their population in check?

    April 30, 2014 at 3:54 am

    • Northern harriers, foxes, raccoons, owls, but most heavily, mink, which are capable of entering muskrat lodges and bank burrows in order to reach them!

      April 30, 2014 at 10:26 am

      • Wow, muskrats are the rabbits of water! Meat for the food chain. Thanks, Mary.

        April 30, 2014 at 6:19 pm

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