In this month’s “Past is Prologue,” an Eastern Shore farmer talks about hunting for muskrats. How much do you know about this marshland mammal?

1. The amount of vegetation that a muskrat is able to eat daily can equal:

A. One fifth of the muskrat’s weight
B. One quarter of its weight
C. One third of its weight
D. One half of its weight

2. How fast can a muskrat swim underwater?

A. 1–2 mph
B. 1–3 mph
C. 1–4 mph
D. 1–5 mph

3. How long can a muskrat stay underwater?

A. 1 minute
B. 5 minutes
C. 10 minutes
D. 15 minutes

4. Young muskrats are furry and able to swim and dive at what age?

A. 2 weeks
B. 3 weeks
C. 4 weeks
D. 5 weeks

5. Muskrats are trapped for their fur, which is warm, durable and waterproof. Which North American wild furbearer leads all other mammals in the number of creatures caught and total pelt value?

A. Beaver
B. Muskrat
C. Opossum
D. Otter

6. True or false? Muskrats can swim backward.

7. Muskrats mostly live in dens burrowed out of stream banks or in lodges similar to those of beavers. How do muskrat lodges differ from beaver lodges as a rule?

A. They are made of grasses, not tree limbs.
B. They are smaller
C. They do not form dams
D. All of the above

8. Which of these is the greatest threat to muskrats?

A. Disease
B. Habitat loss
C. Hunting
D. Predators

9. The nutria, a rodent from South America that was brought to North America to bolster the fur industry, has devastated the muskrat’s marshland habitat. The muskrat, itself, was introduced to another continent to bolster the fur industry there and is now considered a pest because of the damage it has done to the canals in various countries. On which continent is the muskrat the unwanted alien?

A. Africa
B. Australia
C. Europe
D. South America.

10. Because of its prolific nature, the muskrat population is not in any immediate danger. On average, what is the average number of litters and number of young in each litter that a female muskrat gives birth to each year?

A. 2–3 litters; 3–5 young
B. 2–3 litters; 4–8 young
C. 3–4 litters; 4–8 young
D. 3–4 litters; 3–5 young


1-C 2-B 3-D 4-A 5-B 6 True 7-D 8-B 9-C 10-B