I Stand Corrected
Some of you have mentioned sightings of small beavers at Jack Layton Park. Not having seen beavers or cuttings along the shoreline, I was pretty confident we were seeing muskrats.
I saw a beaver this morning, so I stand corrected.
And how did I know it was a beaver? A beaver sits lower in the water. Often, you can only see its head. If the flanks are visible, they are almost under water. A muskrat is more buoyant, so you see the full body. You might also see the tail which is long and narrow.
A beaver is much larger than a muskrat, but be careful. In the water, a muskrat creates an illusion of greater size because you see more of its body above the surface. Most of the beaver is underwater.
Another clue can be found in what the animal is carrying. Muskrats feed on the roots of plants. Sometimes, you can see the stocks of these plants as the muskrat as it swims. Beavers are more likely to be carrying branches.
Here are two images of the beaver I saw this morning and a recent muskrat image for comparison.