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Recreating Nature Indoors

Ever wonder who made the dioramas in our mammal halls? Read all about the artists who created these wonderful scenes. Learn more >

The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

Our Exhibits Meet State Standards!

Our diorama halls are just one place where teachers and chaperones can meet State Standards! To download easy-to-use field trip guides that are aligned with Standards.
Learn More

Mammalogy Contacts

Jorge Velez-Juarbe, Ph.D.
Assistant Curator of Marine Mammals

Jim Dines, Ph.D.
Collections Manager
(213) 763-3400

David Janiger
Curatorial Assistant
(213) 763-3369



Ondatra zibethicus (Linnaeus, 1766)

Muskrat diorama in the North American Mammal Hall


 Gray Lodge Waterfowl Refuge, Gridley, California

Background artist:

 Robert C. Clark

Muskrats are excellent swimmers and evade many predators by escaping into water or into their burrows and nests. They can remain under water for up to 15 minutes.

Muskrats are very abundant in appropriate habitats, making them important prey animals for predator populations.

Muskrats are often considered pests because they eat farm crops, especially grain. Their burrows block drains and sometimes cause dikes to fail.

Biological Information

Range map for the muskrat


Northern North America to the Gulf Coast and Mexico


Swamps, marshes and wetlands


Widespread and abundant in suitable habitats


Aquatic plants and agricultural crops

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for muskrat.