Foxes’ and coyotes’ sense of smell is such that they rarely miss an opportunity to check out inhabited beaver or muskrat lodges in the winter, when frozen ponds and marshes allow them access to these tempting sources of food.
Beavers are well protected due to the amount of frozen mud in their lodges that provides an impenetrable barrier to visitors (inset photo: coyote investigates beaver vent in inhabited lodge). Muskrats are not as well protected (even though the walls of their lodges can be up to a foot thick) as their lodges are made of vegetation, primarily cattails and grasses, with very little, if any, mud. In addition to lodges, muskrats build feeding platforms, called “push-ups,” where their scent is strong enough to attract attention from hungry predators (main photo: fox tracks investigate a muskrat push-up).
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