Muskrat decline in North America | IUCN | UPSC

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Muskrat decline in North America UPSC

Muskrat decline in North America | UPSC


Global Eco Watch: Many factors may have caused muskrat decline in North America

      WHY IN NEWS:

Many factors may have caused the decline of muskrats across North America, a new study by Pennsylvania State University has said.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Conservation of fauna : IUCN


For PRELIMS it is important issue to dive in . Let us take a tour on features and IUCN status .


  The muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) occurs throughout most of Alaska’s mainland except some islands of Southeast Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula west of Ugashik Lakes, and the Arctic Slope north of the Brooks Range.

Muskrat decline in North America

Muskrats are a semi aquatic rodent species native to North America. Photo: Muskrats are a semi aquatic rodent species native to North America.


  • The highest populations of muskrat are in the broad floodplains and deltas of major rivers and in marshy areas dotted with small lakes.
  • The muskrat is a species of semiaquatic rodent native to North America and has also been introduced to other continents.


  • Their coats consist of soft, dense underfur and long, coarse, shining guard hairs.
  • The guard hairs produce the dominant color of the upper parts.
  • Color ranges from a medium silvery brown to dark brown with a lighter belly.
  • The feet and tail are dark brown or black.

  They found that the rodents had died due to a number of factors including pathogens, parasites, environmental contaminants as well as disease.



  • Muskrats are basically herbivorous.
  • They feed mainly on aquatic plants such as the roots and stems of cattails, lilies, sedges, and grasses.
  • They may occasionally eat mussels, shrimp, and small fish.


  • Vegetation is collected and stored during the summer for winter use.
  • Throughout the winter muskrats remain below the ice for great periods of time eating this stored food and submerged vegetation.


  Muskrats have both a high reproductive and population turnover rate.

  • Mature females usually have two litters per year and annually give birth to 15 young, or seven to eight per litter.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

While much wetland habitat has been eliminated due to human activity, new muskrat habitat has been created by the construction of canals or irrigation channels, and the muskrat remains common and widespread.



DISCOVER MORE : Important IUCN Articles


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