|Scientific Name:||Ondatra zibethicus|
|Species Authority:||(Linnaeus, 1766)|
Castor zibethicus Linnaeus, 1766
|Taxonomic Notes:||Will be transferred to family Cricetidae.|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Least Concern ver 3.1|
A widespread, common, and widely introduced species with no major threats, hence listed as Least Concern.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
|Range Description:||This species occurs in North America, from northern Canada and Alaska south through the United States, except the arid regions of the southwest and Texas, and the Florida peninsula. Introduced to Czech Republic in 1905 in order to establish fur farms, it is now present throughout the Palaearctic, Mongolia, China, northeast Korea, and Honshu Island, Japan. Also introduced in Argentina (Musser and Carleton 2005, Skyriene and Paulauskas 2012).|
Native:Canada; United States
Introduced:Albania; Argentina; Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Bulgaria; Chile; Czech Republic; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Gibraltar; Hungary; Italy; Japan; Latvia; Lithuania; Mexico; Moldova; Mongolia; Netherlands; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; Slovakia; Slovenia; Sweden; Switzerland; Ukraine
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The muskrat is common to abundant in suitable habitats, with average densities of 40 individuals per hectare (Feldhamer, 1999 in Wilson and Ruff, 1999).|
|Current Population Trend:||Stable|
|Habitat and Ecology:||Muskrats are found in brackish and fresh-water lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, and marshes. Depending on the location, they will either dig burrows into waterside banks, or construct houses of vegetation. Houses are built so that the main chambers are above water level, but can only be entered through underwater tunnels. Separate structures are constructed for feeding and nesting (Feldhamer, 1999 in Wilson and Ruff, 1999). Muskrats exhibit many morphological adaptations for aquatic life, including lips that close behind incisors to allow gnawing under water, partially webbed hindfeet, and the ability to stay submerged for up to 20 minutes. Muskrats are primarily herbivorous, feeding on aquatic vegetation such as cattails and horsetails. During periods of food scarcity, individuals will also consume animal matter such as mussels, turtles, mice, birds, frogs and fish (Wilner et al. 1980)|
|Generation Length (years):||0-1|
|Major Threat(s):||The majority of muskrat mortality is caused by humans. Muskrats are extensively trapped for their pelts, which are of increasing economic value around the world. High population densities of muskrats often result in destruction of local habitat, including damage to river banks caused by burrowing, and the reduction of aquatic vegetation due to over consumption for food and building materials. As a result, muskrats are often treated as a pest species and are trapped, hunted or poisoned to control population levels.|
|Conservation Actions:||There are no measures currently in place to protect O. zibethicus. Common and considered "secure" (S5) or "apparently secure" (S3) throughout entire US range. One subspecies of concern: O. Z. ripensis (S2 in Texas). Status in Mexico needs to be assessed.|
Hafner, D.J., Yensen, E. and Kirkland, G.L., Jr. 1998. Status survey and conservation action plan - North American Rodents. IUCN/SSC Rodent Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland.
IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 07 December 2016).
Musser, G.G. and Carleton, M.D. 2005. Superfamily Muroidea. In: D.E. Wilson and D.A. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: a geographic and taxonomic reference, pp. 894-1531. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.
Pacifici, M., Santini, L., Di Marco, M., Baisero, D., Francucci, L., Grottolo Marasini, G., Visconti, P. and Rondinini, C. 2013. Generation length for mammals. Nature Conservation 5: 87–94.
Skyrienė, G. and Paulauskas, A. 2012. Distribution of invasive muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) and impact on ecosystem. Ekologija 58(3): 357–367.
Willner, G. R., Feldhamer, G. A., Zucker, E. E. and Chapman, J. A. 1980. Ondatra zibethicus. Mammalian Species 141: 1-8.
Wilson, D.E. and Ruff, S. 1999. The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.
|Citation:||Cassola, F. 2016. Ondatra zibethicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T15324A22344525.Downloaded on 24 May 2017.|
|Feedback:||If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided|