Pismasks – Ondatra zibethicus

Pismasks – Ondatra zibethicus

The muskrat is native to North America. W 1905 r. he was brought to Bohemia and released near Prague. He perfectly adapted to the new conditions and multiplied to such an extent, that it occurs today throughout Eastern Europe and much of Western Europe. In some countries, muskrats are hunted for their magnificent fur, in others it is a protected species. The muskrat is an amphibious rodent. It lives in not too deep water of ponds and wetlands, where he builds a bridge covered with a roof of aquatic plants that may have 1 m in height. It enters the interior through entrances located under the water (2). In addition, muskrats dig long ones, multi-meter burrows in steep river banks, also with entrances under water (3). Muskrats reproduce from May to October. During this period, the female gives birth 3 to 4 times. There are 5-9 pieces in each litter. Gestation lasts 28-30 days. By 11 the young days are blind, mother feeds them with milk through 3 weeks. Small females from the first litters may have young in the same year, because they can be fertilized at the age of 3-6 months. However, they must be strong and weigh at least 650 g.

Pismasks (1) it is a large aquatic animal 25-40 cm long (no tail). His dress is shiny, brown-red on the back, beige on the belly. He has a hard one, 19-27 cm long tail serving him as a rudder. An adult individual weighs from 0,7 do 1,7 kg.

On a muddy terrain, it leaves a characteristic trail: prints of the front paws with four fingers and the hind paws, longer - with five (4).

In Poland, only firearms hunting is allowed. In other countries, hunters trap muskrats. They only keep adults, and the young, with an undeveloped coat, set free.

Game species.