Comment from Shawn Johnson:
Thank you for sharing your photos and story.
Unexpected but welcomed catches are always exciting to experience and that’s a nice beaver- congratulations. The photo at first glance looks like a typical rat house and if a nearly sixty-pound beaver were not part of the photo, most would see nothing out of the ordinary. However, that lodge is conservatively twenty times the size of the animal.
If that indeed is a rat house that’s one enormous atypical muskrat mansion you discovered.
Examining the photo more closely, you’ll note that although the majority of the lodge construction appears to be made of rushes, sedges, and cattails, you can also identify woody materials such as willows, dogwood, alder, and aspen/cottonwood in its construction as well. Many of those appear to be chewed off by beavers. Beavers are flexible and opportunistic in the materials they utilize in lodge and dam construction. In some areas, both can be discovered made almost entirely of cattails, green aquatic vegetation, hummocks, and even cornstalks depending on what materials are readily available to them.
Although I have no doubt that you were successful in catching several muskrats from this location as well, the photo seems to suggest that you may have perhaps mistaken a beaver lodge made of typical muskrat-type materials for a monster muskrat lodge?
Keep your skinning knives sharp,