Non Conventional Fibres Association


Zoological information and Habitat

  • Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) are semi-aquatic rodents native to North America and located in Europe, Russia, and China.
  • They belong to the family Cricetidae.
  • These are known to be aquatic rodents found in marshes, ponds, and freshwater lakes, possess a dual-layered fur coat. 
  • An adult can typically expect to live for 3 to 4 years, with a potential lifespan of around ten years.


  • The soft, dense underfur provides insulation, ensuring warmth during swims in chilly waters. 
  • While the outer guard hairs, resistant to water, prevent the underfur from getting wet.
  • The muskrat fur has natural oils that make it water-resistant.
  • It has various applications, such as being coloured to imitate mink fibres or subjected to plucking and shearing to emulate beaver fibres.
  • These durable fibres contribute to the longevity of fur garments made from them.
  • Generally, the hue is dark brown on the back, transitioning to golden brown and silver on the flanks. 
  • The Jersey, or eastern, muskrat displays a darker shade, approaching almost black, making it the pricier option. 
  • With proper care, the eastern muskrat is durable, although all muskrat fur maintains its longevity.

Typical uses

  • Historically, indigenous people and early settlers used muskrat fur for clothing, blankets, and other practical items. 
  • The fur served as protection against harsh weather conditions.
  • Residents of chilly regions often appreciate garments, such as hats, crafted from muskrat fur due to the insulating combination of underfur and guard hair, ensuring exceptional warmth in cold weather.
  • The soft and durable nature of muskrat fur makes it suitable for decorative elements on various items, including clothing and home furnishings.
  • Muskrat fur produced accessories like fur-trimmed items, such as collars, cuffs, and hoods on garments made from other materials.
  • Muskrat fur is often used to make fur garments such as coats, jackets, hats, and gloves.