Semi-aquatic Mammals

Scientific Name
Various in the orders Rodentia, Carnivora
Geographic Range
North America

More information

At Nature Boardwalk, there are three primary species of semi-aquatic mammals: American beavers, muskrats, and American minks. Beavers and muskrats are both rodents with a similar appearance; their distinguishing feature is their tail shape. American minks are small carnivores in the Mustelidae family (weasels, badgers, wolverines).

Did You Know?

  • Beavers are the largest North American rodent, with a leathery, spatula-like tail, which they use to construct their lodges. They are considered “ecosystem engineers,” as they help create habitat for other species while modifying landscapes for their own use. Most notably, beaver dams help produce biodiverse wetlands.
  • Muskrats also have a bald tail, but it is long and narrow. They also construct lodges for their families. They build burrows in banks along bodies of water or create “push-ups,” stand-alone lodges made of mud and plant materials.
  • American minks are small and mighty, hunting primarily fish but also going after muskrats and waterbirds. They subdue vertebrate prey by biting the back of the head or neck.
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