Passing the long, cold winter in the Adirondacks often calls for a little creative reinvention. I’ve been amusing myself of late spending time with a muskrat. Whether it’s Muskrat Suzie or Muskrat Sam (if you remember the corny Captain and Tenille song “Muskrat Love”) I’m not sure. But this much I know. A handsome individual of this species, gender uncertain, has been swimming, diving, and perching on the ice along the Saranac River lately, and I’ve had the pleasure of spending a few hours with it, shooting photos now and again. Above, here’s the muskrat walking the brink, getting up the nerve to take its next cold plunge. And below, here it is, just about to submerge.
And here it is again, below, fresh up from a dive. The muskrat looks quite satisfied, as well it should.
And here is the muskrat again, gnawing a sturdy stem.
And here it is again, the big pieces gone, nibbling something small.
Above, the muskrat was looking waterlogged. I suspect it was and preferred to be dry. From time to time, this is how it resolved the issue (below).
Below is the last image I offer. It shows my muskrat friend, dusted with snow, looking pensive. It has good reason to be pensive. The river is freezing over, open water is disappearing, and a big snowstorm looms. Unlike the beaver, which builds a lodge and stores great quantities of food and prepares for such conditions, the muskrat improvises its way through winter. Why not? The muskrat’s success at living life moment by moment demonstrates that for aquatic rodents, as for people, there’s more than one way to live.