Muskrat Ramble

photo of a muskrat © Wil HershbergerEver heard a muskrat squeal? Well, I had no idea they even made any sound until I heard the following recording by my buddy Ted Mack. During a visit to Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge during the spring of 1994. One morning, Ted set his soundscape microphone in a grassy marsh. To his amazement, a pair of muskrats soon swam by, squealing excitedly at one another and then diving into the water:

Muskrats giving squealing calls in marsh; possibly courtship behavior. Early am, 30 April 1994, Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Nebraska. Recorded by Ted Mack.

Listen also for the honks of a Canada Goose, the distant hoots of a Great Horned Owl, and the periodic swishing sound of wind blowing the grass,

Quit a unique recording, huh? Wonder why I’ve called it Muskrat Ramble”? If you’re an old-timer you might guess. It’s because my dad used to play a jazz tune by that name, a piece written by Kid Ory and played by Louis Armstrong and his band. Would the real “Muskrat Ramble” please stand up …

Muskrat Ramble by Kid Ory, played by Louis Armstrong’s band, circa 1926.


  1. I recently moved to the country to a place with 3 ponds. I have always loved nature & know a lot of sounds. This past Thursday night 11/29/12 @ about 9 pm in Michigan I heard a noise on the pond that I’d never heard before. I have a spot light & couldn’t see anything except some deer getting a drink. I had seen a muskrat hanging around quite a bit a couple of days prior to that night. When I went out on this web site and heard the muskrat sound you recorded it was what I was hearing here that night. I’m so glad I know what it was now. Thank you Peggy

  2. What a charming interlude in the morning (morning after?) life of “Muskrat Susie and Muskrat Sam”. This recording infuses sweet, simple, smiling happiness into any open heart. Thanks for it!

  3. Amazing. What a cool sound. I had no idea that they did this. I will certainly be listening for it now. From the sound of the water splashing at the end of the clip it appears Ted was fairly close to the muskrats well getting this recording.
    Certainly a unique piece.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.