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Physical removal, repelling, and habitat modification are all important components of an integrated muskrat control plan. Below, learn how to get rid of muskrats with step-by-step instructions and helpful tips from the experts at Havahart®
Muskrats love to eat aquatic vegetation, so they tend to inhabit wetland areas rich in this type of food. When there is a lack of available food, most muskrats are forced to relocate to a more suitable environment. Begin your muskrat control plan by reducing the availability of favorite plants like:
Muskrats cause most damage when burrowing for shelter in banks and dams. In order to properly execute your control plan, it's important to seek out these burrows as well as other signs of muskrat damage. Some signs to look for include:
muddy water: often a sign of muskrat damage or activity; may indicate the location of runs or burrows
muskrat runs: distinct underwater paths perpendicular to the shoreline where silt has been removed, often leading to a burrow
muskrat burrows: holes about 6-8" in diameter, in a bank or outside wall of the waterway
feeding platforms: elevated, flat pads of mud and vegetation, oftentimes with evidence of droppings and shellfish remains
Once you've identified your muskrat damage, you can use the below guidelines to determine the best control method for you. It's important to note that because muskrats spend most of their time in or on the water, they're more challenging to control. The most effective way to get rid of muskrats is through an integrated approach, which incorporates multiple solutions.
The best way to get rid of muskrats that are currently living in your waterway is to use a live trap to remove them. The most important factor when trapping is location. The best locations for your trap include:
For more trapping tips, read How to Trap a Muskrat »
Once the muskrats have been removed from the area, use electronic repellents to deter them from coming back. A highly effective solution is a motion-activated sprinkler, which frightens muskrats with bursts of water. General guidelines to follow include:
For more repelling tips, read How to Repel Muskrats »
Fencing can be extremely effective at keeping muskrats out of ponds or waterways, but can be quite intrusive and less discreet than electronic repellents. Regardless, proper dimensions and installation are key to success:
Contact your local wildlife commission before using a live muskrat trap or altering the wetland habitat in your area.
After removing a muskrat with a live trap, fill in the abandoned burrows with gravel or stone to prevent other animals from inhabiting them.
Muskrats reproduce at a very high rate, so the sooner you choose to control them in your area, the better your chances at controlling the area's long-term population.
Because muskrat burrows begin underwater and end underground, their presence is not always evident until major damage occurs. It's important to routinely check along the shoreline for signs of muskrats. If you notice any signs of muskrat damage, take action immediately to prevent a large-scale problem.