The cry pulls the attention of the adults and children and Park Rangers away from the dredge tour and toward the small critter swimming purposefully through the pond to a little pine tree on the bank.
Actually, it’s not a beaver…it’s a muskrat, but equally awesome to see in the dredge pond.
Dubbed Muskrat Sally and Muskrat Sam by Ranger Rella in honor of the song, these two muskrats have been making their home on the north bank of the dredge pond every spring for as long as we can recall.
The muskrat is neither a beaver, nor is it a rat though they have similar characteristics to both animals. The muskrat is more closely related to voles or lemmings; its name coming from its rat like appearance out of water and its musky odor.
Although, both Sally and Sam keep a regular schedule of activity, most commonly seen at 7:00am when we open and 7:00pm when we close, getting some good photos has proven difficult as they blend in well with their surroundings. Muskrats are also capable of staying submerged under water for long periods of time. Since they are able to close off their airway behind their teeth they can stay under the water while carrying or knawing off sticks and branches which means you might see them once and not again in time to pull out your camera.
Our Park Host, Marv Fackler, had a chance to see them out and about the other night a was able to get some great photos. Thanks for letting us use them, Marv!
So, be sure to swing by the dredge pond and say hello to Sally and Sam.