Update at the bottom!
I don’t know what this thing is. David, Beth, and I took Penny down to Sandogardy Pond this afternoon, and we were surprised to see that the pond was pretty well frozen over. The ice was about 4″ thick, so we went out on it. When David and I were near the shore, we stepped out on the ice again, and two of these creatures started swimming away from us (under the ice). I have no idea what they are. I did not see a head, but there were legs (or perhaps pseudopods). The whip-like tail was about three quarters the length of the body, and the whole creature was about 12″ long.
I had my camera out in video mode, so I recorded this footage. I don’t use my camera in video mode very often though, and in the excitement of the moment thought that it was not recording, so I pressed the button again (stopping the video). But we followed it along as it swam beneath the ice for another hundred feet or so, with me thinking the whole time that I was recording it. Boo.
So what is this thing? I thought at first it was a turtle, but the tail was so long, and I couldn’t see a head. But other than that, I guess it could be a turtle. It looked more like a trilobite to me, but those are sorta extinct, so that’s out. If you have a theory, I’d love to hear it. I’m stumped!
NH Fish & Game got back to me today. It’s a muskrat.
The animal recorded is a muskrat. They are a native species to NH.
New Hampshire Fish & Game Department
Furbearer Project Leader
Region 3 Wildlife Biologist