No doubt if you’re reading this post you’re either A) a follower of this blog; B) interested in hearing about my encounter with a muskrat; or C) all of the above. With any luck as you’re reading this post you’ll chuckle once, or maybe twice, as that is one of my main goals in life: making people laugh. Let me tell you first though – when it happened, I was scared to death! I didn’t feel like laughing about it until approximately two minutes and seventeen seconds after the ordeal occurred.
It all began one day a few weeks ago when my brother and I thought “Hey, it would be fun to go to a nature trail and mess around there for a little bit.” We were bored and thought, why not? We headed down to the nature trail, set on exploring the area a little bit. We looked at the little river and the ponds, but didn’t see any frogs. It was too early in the year for them to be out yet anyways.
“Hey,” my brother tells me, “want to go look at something down the river? It’s not too far.”
“Okay,” I say. We went down another section of path and starting walking towards the river.
Now we were walking along the high bank of the river. It was brushy and thorny; you had to be careful otherwise you’d walk straight into a pricky thorny plant. My brother led the way since I had no idea what we were looking for, and he stepped over a muddy section of ground. I had on my one and only pair of tennis shoes and did not feel like scrubbing them clean of mud when we got home. There were two long skinny fallen tree branches lying over the mud in an X shape. I thought if I stepped on the sticks they would keep me from sinking into the mud.
As soon as I stepped onto the sticks, I heard this rustling noise. I thought my stepping on the sticks had caused them to bounce up and hit the bush. But then the rustling noise continued, and I wasn’t moving the branch at all. That meant something else was making the noise.
But just to make sure…I look to my left, toward the river, where the sticks were hanging over the edge of the bank. They weren’t causing the noise I was hearing, so me, using the brilliant deduction skills I’ve learned from years of reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books, deduced that the sound must be coming from my right. How sleuth-ish of me!
So I look to my right.
There was a giant brown furball standing (or was it sitting?) not six feet away from me.
It’s a giant squirrel! Upon another look I realized it was too big to be a squirrel – it was squirrel colored, but with a skinny black tail! This stout furry animal is the muskrat from the title “Me and the Muskrat” but I didn’t know it yet. That first thought was followed by Don’t eat me don’t eat me don’t eat me! I remembered how sharp of teeth squirrels have, and hugged myself, in case it should leap towards me.
The animal just sat there. It didn’t move. It just watched me. No doubt wondering what this strange person was doing near its home.
And my brother was oblivious to all this. I shrieked to get his attention.
“What?” he turned around but did not see the ferocious animal sitting less than six feet away from me. He’s looking at the ground.
I shriek again.
He still doesn’t see it. I can’t really blame him though, the thing is brown, and it’s in the woods. Blends in kinda well. “What? The stick?”
I think not knowing what it was was even more scary than knowing what type of animal it was. I like to think that if I had known what it was, I wouldn’t have been as freaked out. Nevertheless, “NO. NOT THE STICK. IT’S RIGHT THERE. HELP ME. HELP ME.” I jumped forward towards him and grabbed the sleeve of his sweatshirt.
And then he saw it! “HEY! That’s a beaver! No, a woodchuck. Hey that’s a muskrat!”
While he was identifying it the muskrat must have decided that humans–particularly a human girl named Emma–make too much noise and were relatively uninteresting. It scampered to the river and jumped in and swam away.
I took a step back and took a deep breath. “Oh my land.”
I went home and Googled ‘Muskrat’ and confirmed my brother’s identification. It was indeed a muskrat that I had met up with. Once was enough. We make a point to avoid each other now, whenever I go back to the Nature Trail. I don’t think he misses me. I don’t really miss him.
And there you have it! Actually when I was reading about muskrats on Wikipedia, I read that they are actually more nocturnal, so that might contribute to the fact that Mr. Muskrat and I haven’t had another chance acquaintance. I’m definitely not nocturnal.
Well, what about you? Ever meet a muskrat? I’ve love to hear how it went! Meet any other animals? I’ve met a raccoon at midnight before, but…that’s another story. 😉 Thanks for reading, my friends! Until next time!