An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Muskrats & Spatterdock

6-12-19 muskrat eating water lily flower bud1B0A0488Cattails, sedges, rushes, water lilies and grasses make up the bulk of a Muskrat’s diet although these aquatic rodents have been known to occasionally dine on fish, crustaceans and freshwater clams.

Muskrats typically don’t eat their food where they find it – they usually bring it out to a feeding platform in the water, which provides them with some protection from predators. However, they make an exception for Bullhead Pond-lily flower buds (Nuphar variegata), also known as Spatterdock, which they often devour on the spot wherever they find them (see photo). Beavers, Porcupines (yes, Porcupines can swim), White-tailed Deer and waterfowl also dine on the leaves, rhizomes, buds, flowers and seeds of Bullhead Pond-lilies.

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4 responses

  1. Thank you—again!! Your work continues to just delight, inform and amaze me. All the best.

    June 12, 2019 at 8:16 am

  2. janetpesaturo

    Great point that even porcupines swim to get aquatic vegetation. They do, and I have seen it on trail cam videos. Like a lot of other animals they really need the minerals in spring and summer and aquatic plants are an excellent source of those minerals.

    June 12, 2019 at 8:46 am

    • Alice Pratt

      Must be a delicacy!

      June 12, 2019 at 11:49 am

  3. Susan Holland

    Wow! Who knew porcupines could swim? Not me!….. every day you teach me something new!

    June 12, 2019 at 12:28 pm

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