Defending the lowly … by myself

In the wild kingdom there are many amazing, beautiful or powerful creatures. The muskrat is none of these.

But I still feel something for this love-challenged underdog – perhaps it’s my Canadian roots. Unfortunately extolling the muskrat’s virtues is a public relations nightmare.

Here’s a creature that is often described as ugly, appears a bit slimy (hopefully that’s just from being wet) and wanders around aimlessly, seemingly never accomplishing anything.

The inevitable comparisons to the beaver only make things worse – smaller, can’t cut down trees and I haven’t even mentioned that ugly, sloppy tail. In case you missed it, I previously outlined the beaver’s own beauty challenges.

Perhaps winning over a few friends for this lowly creature is not realistic. It’s likely my desperate search for any living creature to photograph that overtakes all rational judgment.

Yet on a Saskatchewan evening, I can sit by any nearby body of water and wait. Inevitably the water stirs, a small head appears and soon a perfect V forms on still water. Suddenly I am not alone.

muskrat, water, sunset, Saskatchewan

Just another Saskatchewan sunset with a muskrat swimming through it.

A muskrat faithfully carries out its duties, wanders close enough for me to take a photo then silently slides away. I smile and enjoy the company. And on days with good light, I can find the beauty, can you?

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Latest Comments

  1. Gunta says:

    Marvelous images. Did not know much about your friend. I would have mistaken that first shot for a beaver. Thanks for the lesson.

    Like

  2. Dina says:

    And adorable! 🙂 Absolutely stunning, gorgeous pictures. I’d like to adopt him.

    Like

  3. mflahertyphoto says:

    Nice post & pics Lyle. I actually like them too (though not Captain and Tenille style). We probably have more of them in Oregon, the Beaver State, than we do beavers.

    Like

  4. lakesideindia says:

    Lovely pictures – and a great animal which I’m sure many more people love.
    Thanks for the like
    Dorinda

    Like

  5. jane tims says:

    Hi. When I was young, my Dad dug a pond on our property. We loved it but it was a bit stark, so my sister and Introduced cattails. They took on like wildfire and soon the pond was plugged solid. But then a little muscrat moved in and he ate the vegetation and restored balance to the pond! I am forever grateful to him! Jane

    Like

  6. under the skies of arkansas says:

    the one of him standing looks quite cool to me

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  7. drawandshoot says:

    That muskrat is sure cute!

    Like

  8. Dawn says:

    I have one in my dugout. Have been trying to get a good picture of him, but to date have been unsuccessful:(
    He sure is cute and not very afraid. Hoping he will stay there for the winter!

    Like

  9. Sid Dunnebacke says:

    I come upon one of these guys every so often as I stroll round the nature center where I work, and am always happy to see them, so I’m already a fan. But, then, if there’s a heart inside, that’s really all it takes for me.

    Fabulous pictures!

    Like

  10. hannele says:

    it’s beautiful! we also have them here in finland – they were introduced between the 1920’s and 30’s as a fur resource… fortunately, they don’t cause much trouble here. they’re still hunted, though.

    their name probably doesn’t help them very much either…

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  11. melodylowes says:

    I must say I have never thought to praise the lowly muskrat – that tail and the term ‘rat’ thrown in for good measure have precluded my raptures – but I do see the value in valuing each part of creation… Maybe I’ll watch for the ‘v’ with a different heart next time… Lovely to see my province praised, at any rate! 🙂

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Yes it’s sometimes harder to see the beauty in the familiar especially when you look at it in certain ways and it’s understandable why the term rat was included in the name. But in certain ways we all don’t look so good.

      Like

  12. Phil Lanoue says:

    Those are absolutely outstanding!! I would be thrilled to have an opportunity to photograph these interesting animals, so I’m really glad to be able to view your pics!
    Terrific sunset with the guy swimming through! Super well done!

    Like

    • lylekrahn says:

      Thanks – that’s high praise. I was driving my motorbike and stumbled on the sunset. I had to stop and take a photo. These muskrats would be a nice afternoon snack for your gators.

      Like

  13. Mike Powell says:

    Unfortunately, after reading your post, the song “Muskrat Love” as sung by Captain and Tennille is stuck in my head, with the line “looks like muskrat love” firmly embedded. According to Wikipedia, the two of them chose to sing that song in July 1976 at a White House dinner to honor Queen Elizabeth II. Now, that’s muskrat love–you’re not totally alone, Lyle

    Like

  14. rebecca2000 says:

    Great pictures…he is adorable!

    x,
    Becca

    Like

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