Muskrats removal and control is usually done by trapping the animals, the muskrat is similar to beavers, but smaller. They’re usually about 2 feet long, weighing 3-4 pounds; they’ve got short brown fur, partially webbed back feet, and a long, ropelike tail. As with beavers, their dam-building activities can result in flooding and property damage. Muskrats can damage landscaped pools by burrowing tunnels laterally into the pool, causing the water to drain away. On the banks of bodies of water, their den-digging may destabilize the bank, threatening boathouses, docks, and other structures. Muskrats can undermine earthen dams, levees, dikes, and irrigation canals in the same way. Large populations of muskrats can devastate the landscape by almost completely stripping an area of vegetation.
Muskrats will build several different structures. Most common are dome shaped lodges of vegetation in the water, similar to but smaller than beaver lodges. These lodges have one or more underwater entrances, and commonly house an entire family group. Smaller but similar structures are known as "push-ups", which are used as a protected feeding and resting area, especially after ice forms on the water surface. Lastly, bank dens usually have underwater entrances leading upwards to hollow chambers in the bank above the waterline.
Muskrats are most active near dawn and dusk. Primarily plant-eaters, muskrats prefer cattails, water lilies and other aquatic vegetation, along with upland vegetation close to the water. However, turtles, crayfish, frogs and fish are also on the muskrat’s menu – a serious concern to homeowners seeking biodiversity in a planned pond population.
Habitat modification – Muskrat Exclusion
Muskrats can be prevented from burrowing into banks by reducing the slope or covering banks with rip-rap. A slope no steeper than 18 degrees (approximately 1-ft height to each 3-ft length) may be sufficient to prevent muskrats from burrowing into the bank. Rip-rap should consist of coarse gravel between 1- and 2-inches diameter, placed 3-6 inches thick and 1-2 feet above the water line to 4 feet below. Removal of emergent and bank vegetation such as rushes and cattails will also discourage muskrats but may increase erosion and destroy bird, fish, and invertebrate habitats; it may also be illegal, so check regulations first. Before starting any bank modifications, check with your state wildlife or fish and game department for regulations and permit requirements.
Wire netting or chain link fencing placed along banks may prevent muskrats from burrowing into the bank. Netting must be of 2 inch mesh or less, placed so that the bottom is at least 4 feet below the water line and the top several feet above. Fencing needs to be at least 2 feet high, with at least 6 inches buried below ground so they don’t simply burrow underneath the fence.
To protect residential landscaped ponds, one option is to install an aerator in the pond – muskrats like still or slow-moving water, and an aerator will set up circulation in your pond, making it less hospitable to muskrats.
Muskrats are probably the easiest aquatic furbearer to trap. Although labor-intensive, if undertaken systematically, trapping may be effective in removing local populations. Because of the large number of diseases and parasites that muskrats can carry, it is recommended that you call in a professional pest animal removal company.
The muskrat removal experts listed to the left will humanely and legally trap any existing muskrats, and will offer muskrat prevention ideas and techniques.
Because of the damage they can cause, it’s important to deal with muskrat infestations immediately. Our muskrat trappers have experience in dealing with – successfully – all kinds of muskrat infestations, of all sizes and in a wide variety of locations. If a muskrat has already died in your swimming pool or river, our professional muskrat trappers offer dead muskrat removal services and can also help clear up the odors caused by dead muskrats.
Our company holds all state and local licenses for muskrat trapping and control. Call one of our local teams listed at left for quick and effective muskrat control services. Some of the other tpes of rats we handle are House Mouse, Norway Rat, Roof Rat, and Kangaroo Rats