Two muskrats create a game of overlapping ripple tag. Vibrations radiate from their bodies through the very medium they depend on. They’re unaware of the beauty in their wake. But I take it all in. My brain tries to comprehend the sequence in patterns. I’m sure there’s a math equation for this somewhere…
The first one swims without caution. The second has its eyes on me constantly.
The one brave soul wants a closer look at me. I whisper a greeting.
The mild December temperatures blessed me with the sighting of an active muskrat couple. Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus), look like beavers but are smaller about half the size. They also have a rat-like tail whereas beavers have a paddle-shaped tail. Both make lodges, but muskrat lodges are made from cattails, reeds, and plant material. Beaver lodges are made with logs, twigs, woody material. If you see one swimming and cannot see the tail, therefore do not know which one it is, look at its back. If more of the back is exposed, it’s probably a muskrat. If just the head is exposed as it swims, it’s probably a beaver.
To find this beautiful creature, look in marshes, ponds, lakes, or rivers.