Nutritional Food Fact Sheet Series


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The muskrat is appreciated as an animal that restores the land after a flood and keeps the rivers and lakes flowing. It is important to pass down knowledge and skills needed to hunt, trap and cook muskrat.  The hide is used for clothing and the fur trim for slippers and mitts.

The muskrat provides many important nutrients, such as B vitamins.  The muskrat has a lot of body fat so it can keep warm during the cold winter months.

What do we know about muskrat?

Muskrat can be boiled, baked, roasted or smoked. Muskrat tail is smoked to singe off the outer skin. The tender meat found inside is considered a delicacy. 

Smoking or drying helps preserve meat and increases the amount of nutrients due to moisture loss during the drying process. Smoked or dried meat is good to take travelling and for snacks.

Nutrients found in muskrat

Nutrient Content per Serving

Meat, roasted
(75 g)

An excellent food source means it supplies 25% or more of a nutrient per day

Very high in
B Vitamins

A good source supplies 15 - 24% of a nutrient per day  
A fair source supplies 5 - 14% of a nutrient per day Vitamin C
  • Reference Serving Sizes are from Canada’s Food Guide (dried = 35g, cooked = 75g, raw = 90g).
  • The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) amounts are based on the needs of a 14 – 18 year old girl.
  • Excellent, good and fair sources of nutrients have been standardized for any type of food source.

Did you know?

  • Muskrat meat is an excellent source of B vitamins.  B vitamins, such as niacin, riboflavin and thiamine, help our bodies use energy from foods. B vitamins are important for growth and healthy skin, hair, nerves, and muscles. 
  • Muskrat meat is an excellent source of protein.  We need protein to build and repair our muscles, skin and blood. Protein keeps us healthy.  
  • Muskrat is an excellent source of iron. Iron helps make healthy blood that flows through our bodies, giving us energy to be active and grow strong.  Healthy blood keeps us from getting tired.  
  • Muskrat is a fair source of vitamin C, which keeps our gums, teeth and skin healthy.
  • The total amount of fat in muskrat meat is low (17%) compared to beef, pork and chicken (35 – 55%).  Traditional animal fats are healthier for us.

Prepare Foods Safely

  • Use safe food handling practices – wash your hands and equipment.
  • Eat meat only when properly cooked, dried, or aged.
  • To store meat, use only clean containers or bags made for FOOD storage.

Storage Tips

Meat How to Store Refrigerator Freezer
Raw Store Separately 1 – 2 days 4 – 12 months
Cooked Store separately from raw Reheat cooked meat only once/ keep for 3 days 1 - 3 months

Healthy Eating

Prepare foods in traditional ways to avoid too much added sugar, store-bought fats and salt. Muskrat can be eaten many ways but is usually boiled to remove some of the fat. The tail is considered a treat and can be eaten as a snack.  Muskrat is made into stews and in ground meat dishes. As a meal, have with potatoes, corn and fruit (frozen or canned when fresh is not in season). Have a glass of water to drink.

Hunting and fishing for a healthy lifestyle

Getting out on the land is part of our northern way of life. It is great to be active. Hunting, fishing, gathering, and eating traditional foods helps keep us healthy.

For more information contact:

  • Community Health Representatives
  • Registered Dietitians
  • Band Office and Local Elders
  • Territorial Nutritionist, Department of Health and Social Services