Muskrats are really fun and easy to skin, once you get the hang of it. You should be able to skin a rat about every 2 minutes, when you get a little more practice.
The method I was taught when I was 12 years old, is the method I still use today.
Sit in a chair.
Grab the rat by one hind foot.
Place you foot on their tail.
Run your knife from the foot to the middle of the side of the tail.
Grab the other hind leg and make the same cut.
Lay down your knife and use your fingers to peel the hide off the back side of the rat around the tail and then pull the hide loose from the back side of the tail only. (Leave the hide attached to the belly side of the tail!!!! This keep the entrials from poping out as you proceed with the skinning.
Work your fingers around each hind foot and break the hide loose.
Now hook your thumbs into the loose hide, with the rat's back up and its head pointed away from you. Use your fingers on both hands to push the rats head into the hide as you turn the rat inside out.
Now, work each front leg loose and pull the hide loose from each front foot.
Work your fingers around the rats neck and squeeze the hide with one hand so it is tight, by pinching it tight around the rats nose.
Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut the ear openings close to the skull on both sides.
Now pull the hide tighter toward the nose and find the white areas that appear just above each eye. Using the sharp knife and while keep the hide squeeze tight around the rats nose, cut in the white area above each eye until the hide comes loose. You need to cut above the actual eye opening, if you want to get a perfect eye hole with the lids intact.
Next cut the cartilidge in the nose.
( If you want to be really fancy, you can now use the point of your knife to loosen the roof of the rats mouth. Then use your fingers to open the rats mount and slide the mouth roof down off the rats front teeth. The will give you a very small mouth opening and help to keep the rats nose from sliding down off the end of a wire stretcher. This is my own personal modification to what I was taught as a young trapper.)
With hide loose from the rats head, pull the hide toward the rats belly and use your knife to cut if free at the vents and base of the tail.
A practiced muskrat skinner should be able to skin a rat as described above in well under 2 minutes, with the extra time need to leave the rats mouth roof in tack.
Here is the finished product:
Good Luck and happy rat skinning!