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How to Repel Muskrats

If you have a pond, your property could be a prime target for a muskrat invasion. The best way to prevent a muskrat problem is to get rid of them before they can cause damage. Fortunately, effective control solutions are available that allow you to drive these pests away. Learn how to repel muskrats by following the step-by-step instructions below.

1 Identify Muskrat Habits


The best muskrat repellent is a motion-activated sprinkler. Identifying muskrat activity and areas of damage will help you determine the location and scale of your defense.

Common muskrat activities include:

  • spending time in ponds, lakes, marshes
  • burrowing into dams, banks or walls
  • feeding on native vegetation, fish and frogs

2 Obtain a Motion-Activated Sprinkler

motion activated sprinkler

A motion-activated sprinkler will seek out muskrat activity and release startling bursts of water to scare them off. There are two varieties from which you can choose based upon your preferences and animal density:

  • unlimited water supply - best for high animal density
  • requires a hose connection
  • battery-operated
  • stakes into soft ground/soil
  • refillable water basin makes the unit portable
  • no hose required
  • solar-powered
  • flat base - can be placed on almost any surface

If you are dealing with multiple muskrats or very large areas that are vulnerable to damage, you may need to install multiple units for complete coverage.

Shop Electronic Repellents »

3 Determine Repellent Placement

Position each repellent to discourage muskrats from approaching the target areas. Some examples of placement include:

  • the back corners of your garden
  • around the perimeter of an un-fenced property
  • at each entryway to your property, structure or damage area
  • in front of a muskrat burrow
  • beside your trash cans

Be mindful of the coverage area of your particular unit - if the area you want to protect exceeds the square footage, you will need multiple devices.

4 Set Up as Directed

instruction manual

Follow the product manual to properly set up your motion-activated sprinkler(s). Steps critical to your success include:

  • When using a solar-powered device, make sure it is placed in an area that receives plenty of sunlight.
  • When using a device that requires a hose, check to make sure your hose's water pressure aligns with the guidelines in the manual.
  • Adjust the sensitivity based upon your desired coverage area and the average temperature during which activity occurs (twilight). Use the guidelines provided in the manual.
  • Test the sensitivity after you set it to be sure the device can detect at the desired distance.

After your device is set up, check the battery and/or water level of the device periodically, and adjust the sensitivity as the climate changes.

5 Reduce Attractants

vegetable basket

Muskrats are known to relocate once their food source is depleted, and they aren't likely to try to construct a new home where food is scarce. Although it may be difficult to completely eliminate available food, you can begin by targeting aquatic plants like:

  • arrowhead
  • pond weeds
  • cattail
  • sedges
  • ferns
  • water lilies

TIP: This step is especially important if you are trying to drive muskrats out of a currently inhabited area. However, it's important to keep in mind that altering a wild habitat can affect other important animal populations, and you should check with your local wildlife authorities before taking such measures.

Expert Tips

  • Position motion-activated sprinklers around the entire perimeter of your pond or waterway to keep muskrats away entirely.
  • When selecting the type of motion-activated sprinklers for your problem, it's important to understand the general wildlife population in the areas to be protected. Not only should you determine the local muskrat density, but also be aware of the other nearby animal populations. A motion-activated sprinkler will activate when it detects animals of almost any size (depending on your selected sensitivity). If there is a lot of wildlife nearby and you predict the device will activate frequently, it's best to select a device with an unlimited water supply.
  • If muskrats don't have a suitable place to dig their burrows, they will be forced to find somewhere else to do so. Eliminate the possibility of muskrats digging into your banks or pond walls by riprapping or overbuilding.
  • It's important to consider all aspects of muskrat control so that you can establish the most thorough defense against muskrats. Learn about other methods including trapping and exclusion by reading How to Get Rid of Muskrats »

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