While we have many species of plants, birds, and animals that were introduced here from Europe that we now wish they had kept at home, it worked in reverse as well. This item from 1929 brags about sending thousands of muskrats to Germany. The muskrats were apparently very adaptable to their new environment, and prolific breeders. For example, I found an article that said that in 1905, five pairs were released in Austria and Hungary. By the end of 1927 it was estimated that 40% of Austria was inhabited by muskrats, with a population of about 100 000 000! It would appear that the Germans didn’t know about this invasion when the carload of muskrats was sent there in 1929. Another article I found was on the cabi.org website, an Invasive Species Compendium. It states that the muskrat is recommended for eradication by the Bern Convention on the Preservation of European Wild Plants and Animals and Their Natural Habitats (that’s a mouthful!) and listed by another organization as one of the one hundred worst invasive species in Europe.
Researched & written by Kathryn Auger