Muskrats remain active year-round and are, for the most part, nocturnal, so daytime sightings usually occur at dawn and dusk. In the Northeast, Muskrats generally start breeding in June; this early in the spring they are busy foraging for the young, tender, green leaves of cattail that are just beginning to appear. The stems, leaves, tubers, flowers and fruits of arrowhead, bulrush and water lilies are also among their favorite foods. To a lesser extent Muskrats also feed on snails, crayfish, frogs, turtles and fish.
Muskrats don’t eat while they swim. Rather, they often nip off vegetation and seek a sheltered spot where they rest on their haunches and tail while holding it with their front feet as they feed. Note the Muskrat’s long nails, used for digging burrows and dens in river and pond banks as well as for holding food.
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