Dead Muskrat

by Carl Strang

Last week I found a muskrat carcass not far from the southeast corner of May’s Lake.

I found it like this, lying on its back.

I took advantage of the opportunity to get some photos. The feet are remarkable objects.

The muskrat’s front feet are small, but I hadn’t realized how large the claws are. I shouldn’t have been surprised, though, considering how well they dig dens into the banks of marshes and other bodies of water.

The muskrat apparently died in mid-bite.

The dead vegetation in the rodent’s mouth does not appear to be dietary. Perhaps it was gathering nest material, or bit the plant in a random final throe.

I rolled it over. There were no clear signs of what killed it.

The eyes appeared as though they might have cataracts, but I’m guessing that is a postmortem color change.

One or more muskrats were active in that lake earlier this season. Often I saw one swimming far from shore. Was there more than one? Time will tell.

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