Muskrat vs Otter (Difference Between Otter and Beaver)

Muskrat vs Otter

Many of you may have never heard about an animal known as a muskrat. Or some of you may have seen it and assumed it was for otters or beavers. However, the muskrat is different from beaver and otter.

What Does a Muskrat Look Like?

Muskrat is a mammal that is closely related to voles and lemmings. This animal originates from North America. They have a broad head with small ears that can be closed when an animal dives. Muskrats are named muskrats because they look like rats that produce a smelly substance in the anal gland. This substance is used to mark territory. They are adapted to live semi-aquatic life which means they can live both on the ground and in water. The animal can swim at the speed of 3 miles per hour, using their paddle-like feet and vertically flattened tail. They can dive 15 to 20min without returning to the surface to breathe. 

Source: Giphy

Muskrat Habitat:

Muskrats inhabit wetlands, marshes and areas near the ponds, lakes and rivers. In certain parts of the world, muskrats are considered to be pests because they damage river dams and feed on the crops. 

Size of Muskrat:

Muskrat can reach 18 to 25 inches in length, including the tail that measures 8 to 11 inches. The species weighs between 2 to 3 pounds. They are covered with thick brown fur that consists of two layers, outer and inner layer. The outer layer is waterproof. Front feet of muskrats are equipped with long and sharp claws, and hind legs are webbed. 

Also read sea otter information.

Muskrat Eating Habits:

Muskrats feed on aquatic plants such as water lilies, sedges and arrowheads. Their main predators are minks, foxes, lynx, coyotes, owls, hawks, and eagles. 

Muskrat Reproduction:

Muskrats live in family groups composed of a breeding couple and their offspring. Their home usually includes a territory of around 200 yards. Mating season of these species took place from March to July. They are polygamous mammals, which mean that they have more than one mating partner.

Females produce several litters per year. Incubation lasts 28 to 30 days and ends with 6 to 7 babies. They are naked, blind and helpless at birth. Babies depend on the mother in the first month of their life. After six weeks, young muskrats are ready to leave the den.

Difference Between Otter and Beaver:

Beavers and otters may live in the same sorts of aquatic habitats, and their ranges often overlap, but they are completely different animals. Even from a distance, it is straightforward to distinguish the two. They have different bodies, different diets and different roles in the ecosystem.

Source: Giphy

Also read wild yak information.

Otter Species:

Thirteen species of otter come in different sizes, but they all have the same basic form of sleek, elongated body with a powerful tail and slightly webbed feet to swim.

Beaver Species:

Two species of beaver are the North American beaver, and the Eurasian beaver both species have a different shape. Beavers are rodents that have the typical rounded body along with a round face and well-developed front teeth. 

Otter Habitat:

Both otters and beavers are semi-aquatic and spend much of their time in the water. The various species of otter are found in freshwater and marine habitats throughout Asia, Europe, Africa, North and South America. 

Beaver Habitat:

However, the natural habitat of the beaver is limited to freshwater in North America, Europe and some parts of Asia. 

Otter Diet:

Otters are carnivores, living on fish, amphibians, aquatic reptiles and invertebrates and often taking the role of the top predator in freshwater ecosystems. 

Beaver Diet:

On the other hand, beavers are herbivores, eating mostly leaves, roots, bark and twigs. The most obvious impact on their environment is their damming. Beavers radically alter their habitat when they construct large dams to block the flow of water downstream to create the large ponds they prefer.

To make a dam beaver bring down trees in order to build homes and dams using their powerful jaws and strong teeth. The main feature of a beaver is that it changes its living environment. Beavers have large teeth, and their upper incisors range from 20 to 25 mm long. 

River Otter vs Beaver:

Source: Giphy
  • The thick coats of these animals have been their downfall. 
  • Both otters and beavers were exposed to uncontrolled trapping for their pelts in the 19th and 20th centuries. 
  • As a result, they have disappeared from many of their former haunts. 
  • They have also suffered from habitat destruction and water pollution. 
  • Increased regulation of trapping has led to the North American river otter making a comeback in some areas, but the other species are still vulnerable. 
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature classified five species of the otter as endangered and eight species as decreasing in numbers. 
  • The populations of both species of beaver are stable or increasing. 
  • Reintroduction programs began for beavers in the 20th century and appeared to have been a success, with numbers of Eurasian beavers steadily recovering.
  • Beavers are sometimes regarded as a nuisance because of their clogging activities, and otters are occasionally blamed for the loss of fish stocks. 
  • However, neither group has been extensively persecuted as a pest. 

Sea Otter vs Beaver: Fight Comparison (Beaver vs Otter)

If we compare a beaver with an otter, the beaver is largest and has sharp teeth and more mass that will help to attack its opponent. It can defend itself against opponents without getting any wounds. Sea otter is also a strong fighter, but in a fight between both the animals, beaver vs otter a beaver is a clear winner.

Also read about philippine tarsier.