Muskrat Problems

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Golf courses, municipalities, neighborhood associations and agricultural areas experience problems as muskrats find wetlands, streams and ponds perfect for raising a family.Muskrat Problems in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

From our Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky suburban neighborhoods and commercial districts to our surrounding rural areas, muskrats are making themselves at home. Golf courses, municipalities, neighborhood associations and agricultural areas experience problems as muskrats find wetlands, streams and ponds perfect for raising a family. And, while muskrats do provide many benefits to the environment, they can become more than a nuisance as they burrow into earthen dams creating seepage, water loss and even dam failure.

The muskrat name comes from the musky smell secreted during breeding season used to mark their territory. Muskrats look like a large rodent and are sometimes mistaken for a beaver. However they are much smaller and do not sport the large, paddle-like tail of a beaver. Stocky animals with broad heads and short legs, an adult male can measure up to 25 inches long and weigh up to 4 pounds. Their diet consists mostly of vegetation but they will sometimes eat frogs, fish and other small animals. Muskrats are active mostly at night and remain active all year.

Are Muskrats dangerous?

Muskrats are typically peaceful animals living alone or with a small family group. They avoid human contact. However, as with all wildlife, always exercise caution. While generally considered small, there is a risk of the transmission of rabies, parasites or other diseases to you or your family.

How much damage can a muskrat do to your property?

Muskrats can do significant damage to your property. Muskrat dens created in earthen dams in suburban retention ponds, municipal flood control ponds and golf course water features can result in seepage, water loss and dam failure. Muskrats can even be found burrowing into the Styrofoam used for floating docks. In addition to dam failure, Muskrat activity on rural farm ponds can create unsafe conditions for livestock. Heavy livestock can breakthrough surface tunnels risking serious and potentially life-threatening injury.

Should you trap and remove the muskrat yourself?

Muskrats are considered a fur-bearing animal and as such are subject to hunting and trapping regulations. Approval must be granted to trap a muskrat outside the normal hunting season and there are numerous requirements regarding what can then be done with the animal. Besides these regulatory considerations, muskrat trapping must be conducted appropriately or it will be ineffective. An expert animal control expert can identify the problem and develop and conduct a trapping and removal plan that will be effective, humane and legal.

If a muskrat has taken up residence on your property, call a licensed professional.

Control measures can be one approach to dealing with a nuisance muskrat – dams can be protected with wire mesh and rip-rap. However, trapping and removal may be the most effective and efficient long-term solution. In order to protect your property from potential damage and to handle the nuisance animal in a legal and humane manner, trapping should be conducted by a trained, experienced and licensed animal control expert. A trained wildlife control expert can assess your particular situation and make the appropriate recommendations.

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