Coolville Muskrats, not a sports team
You need not be from Coolville to enjoy the majestic beasts populating this southwestern Ohio village. Wikipedia, which is hardly wrong about this sort of thing, asserts that over 400 human people call the place home. The venerable web site remains mum regarding numbers of muskrats, hedgehogs, groundhogs, nutria, water rats, swamp bunnies, marsh rabbits, mutant gerbils, and other species of medium-sized furry creatures. Don't stay inside and watch TV all day: there's a world of fauna just waiting to be studied.
Please, watch out for Ondatra Zibethicus
The James A Rhodes Applachian Highway nips through the northwest corner of Coolville. Slow down as you travel through the area, lest you run over a muskrat or receive a speeding citation from the Ohio Highway Patrol. We don't know which is worse for you, but the water rats strongly prefer that you be pulled over by the police rather than bump over top of them as they cross the road.
There should be a lot of them
This may not be really good writing of the kind that Google prefers, but it is important to understand that a mating pair of muskrats may produce up to 5 litters per year. Each litter may number as high as 10 baby hairless water rats. That's a boatload of critters.
This geometric rate of reproduction should have the good people of Coolville up to their waders in muskrats within a few years. You'd expect the things to be everywhere. The Cool Stop Truck Stop (25780 Brimstone Road) should have them lined up out the door, waiting to purchase 42 ounce Pepsi refreshments with their little front feet that function somewhat like human hands.
For better or worse, mostly for worse from the perspective of the muskrats, they do have some natural predators. Along with the threat of being squished by speeding tires, they must constantly be on the alert for raccoon, red fox, owls, hawks, and eagles. Mink also like to eat them.
Meet the Muskrat
Swing by Strouds Run State Park to visit your favorite semi-aquatic furry rodent. Put on your favorite Coolville hat and spend a day at the park. Expect to find them busily building their own personal 'lodge' along shorelines in low-lying areas. Expect no political correctness: they don't care one whit if you call it a swamp or a wetland.
Plan to arrive bearing gifts. They don't have cable TV in their lodge but they do like to eat. Tickle their pallet with cattails, sedges, rushes, water lilies, pondweeds, wild rice, pickerelweed, clover, willow, acorns, arrowhead, sweet flag, switchgrass, mussels, crayfish, frogs, snails, and fish.
Spend your day at the 900 foot beach on the north side of Dow lake. Your muskrat friends plan the bulk of their activities during the evening hours. If they are not home, keep in mind that they can spend as much as 15 minutes under water before surfacing to breathe. They aren't being rude, just natural.
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