Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Direct observation of Muskrat feeding on crayfish

Formally Refereed
Authors: Susan B. Adams, Rebecca L. Rosamond
Year: 2022
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: Southeastern Naturalist


Ondatra zibethicus (Common Muskrat) are often considered herbivores; however, they also eat animal matter, especially mussels, which comprise a considerable part of their diet in some populations. Common Muskrats also feed on crayfish (Astacoidea), although such behavior is poorly documented. On 21 April 2022, we observed a Common Muskrat repeatedly catching crayfish (Cambaridae) and carrying them to its den. The site in the Coldwater River National Wildlife Refuge, Quitman County, MS, consisted of a ditch with a water-control structure on the edge of a waterfowl impoundment being dewatered. The consumption of crayfish by a Common Muskrat during a time when vegetation was presumably less available has important ramifications for the management of both species.


crayfish, muskrat, predation, habitat alteration


Adams, Susan B.; Rosamond, Rebecca L. 2022. Direct Observation of Muskrat Feeding on Crayfish. Southeastern Naturalist. 21(3)