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DescriptionMuskrats, so-called for their odor, which is especially evident during the breeding season, are highly successful semi-aquatic rodents. They occur in both brackish and freshwater lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, and marshes throughout much of North America, except in parts of the South where tidal fluctuation, periodic flooding, or drought limit their distribution. Muskrats have a variety of aquatic adaptations, including a rudder-like tail that is flattened side-to-side, partially webbed hind feet, and fur that traps air for insulation and buoyancy. Because their fur has commercial importance, they were taken to Japan, South America, Scandinavia, and Russia, and there are now feral populations in some places where they were introduced.
Mammal Species of the World
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