What you should know about

Muskrat Characteristics

Muskrats are an aquatic rodent found in or around lakes, ponds ditches, sewers and other water sources. The muskrat is about the size of a rabbit and is often mistaken for an otter, which it resembles when it is swimming. Muskrats travel through natural waterways and drainage systems, preferring prolific cattail swamps and creek systems to open lakes. The muskrat is a vegetarian that mimics many of the habits and physical characteristics of the beaver, another creature they are sometimes confused with. Muskrats are commonly referred to as “marsh rabbits” in the American south.

Muskrats consume a large variety of aquatic roots and bulbs, gathered from the submerged river banks. Although muskrats are primarily vegetarians, they will also feed on crayfish, mussels, turtles, frogs, and fish in ponds where vegetation is scarce. They will also come on land to consume new shrub growth and can destroy waterside gardens in a very short amount of time. Muskrats prefer to build dens by burrowing into the sides of steep banks, but if a bank is not available they will build a hut out of reeds on the open water, not unlike beavers. They are especially prevalent in areas with a chain of lake, canals and many streams, such as Lakeland, Hamburg, Hell, Pinckney, Milford, Gregory, Ann Arbor, Dexter and Ypsilanti.

Muskrats are very prolific and can reproduce up to six times per year. A single litter may contain up to 15 young, although 4 to 8 is more common. Gestation is 24-30 days; once giving birth, the female becomes the primary caregiver for the young.

Muskrat Removal

It is possible to trap muskrats on land, but trapping them in water is more practical. Whether on land or in the water, muskrat trapping is a difficult process, requiring very thorough inspections with special equipment; it can be very laborious and time consuming. It is a process that Creature Control has been extremely successful at. Our skilled technicians have the experience to identify areas of muskrat activity and live trap them underwater, upon which they can be safely removed and relocated. If you think you have a muskrat, problem contact Creature Control today, or click on the commercial and residential tabs to learn about how muskrat habits effect different properties.

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Residential Muskrat Removal

Muskrats are very shy and tend to avoid contact with humans, so many homeowners may not realize they have a muskrat problem at first. Despite their shyness, they do pose a real danger in the damage they cause to waterfront property.

This is especially true of properties on canals, streams and riverbanks. Muskrats are capable of destroying seawalls and waterside landscaping by burrowing into banks, sometimes as far as 30 feet underneath the shore line. Muskrat tunnels are very unstable. The muskrats will burrow very near the surface, usually only 6 to 12 inches, meaning the tunnels have little overhead support (except for sod) and tend to collapse quickly. Muskrats will repeatedly re-burrow adjacent to collapsed tunnels, eventually creating narrow ruts or canals in the ground that can be two feet wide at times. Eventually this land will erode or wash away during flooding.

It is also common for homeowners to actually fall into muskrat burrows while walking by the water’s edge, an obvious safety hazard. Besides undermining banks, this can also cause drainage and flooding problems, making muskrat damage extremely costly. They have also been known to clog up drain tiles on farms.

There are also muskrat-related damages that can arise from the animal’s natural tendency to gnaw. This gnawing damages the electrical systems of water crafts as muskrats tend to chew wires around the transom.

Obviously muskrats are not something you want lurking around your banks or boat. For professional muskrat removal and muskrat trapping, call Creature Control at 800-441-1519.

Commercial Muskrat Removal

Many of the requests for muskrat removal we get come from commercial properties. This is because the large retaining ponds that are common on commercial properties form ideal habitats for muskrats. The larger the retaining pond, the more likelihood of a muskrat problem; we once pulled nine muskrats out of a single pond behind a Wal-Mart.

Depending on your situation, it might not be a bad thing to have a few muskrats around. They do keep the weeds down, and if the retaining pond is out of sight, it might not be a big deal. But if you have a pond with a fountain or pump, the muskrats can disturb the equipment and gnaw on the pump’s power cords. They may even collapse the perimeter of the pond with their burrowing, doing costly damage to landscaping. Then it is time to look at professional trapping and removal.

Creature Control has years of experience trapping muskrats in a commercial setting. Our traps do not draw attention to themselves and our technicians know how to handle these aquatic critters. Give us a call today at 800-441-1519 for a phone consultation and pricing.