Inhabit fresh, brackish, and saltwater marshes, ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams (Banfield 1974, Willner et al. 1980). Most abundant in areas with cattails (Caire et al. 1989). Common muskrat populations tend to be higher in areas with dense aquatic, emergent vegetation that is surrounded by terrestrial herbaceous vegetation. Forested riverbanks usually do not support common muskrat populations. High quality habitat is characterized by 50 percent or more of an area having dense emergent species, although if habitats become “choked” with vegetation, common muskrat numbers will be low (Allen and Hoffman 1984).
Allen, A. W. and R. D. Hoffman. 1984. Habitat suitability index models: muskrat. FWS/OBS-82/10.46. Washington, DC: USDI, USFWS. 27 p.
Banfield, A. W. F. 1974. The mammals of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada. 438 pp. Caire, W., J. D. Tyler, B. P. Glass, and M. A. Mares. 1989. Mammals of Oklahoma. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. Oklahoma. 567 pp.
Willner, G. R., G. A. Feldhammer, E. E. Zocker, and J. A. Chapman. 1980. ONDATRA ZIBETHICUS. American Society of Mammalogists, Mammalian Species No. 141. 8 pp.