Muskrats are the only of their genus and are a semi-aquatic rodent that lives throughout the United States and into South America as well. They’re occasionally found in Europe and Asia as well, but they are only really considered a nuisance in North America. Although they are technically rodents, they are much closer related to moles and voles than mice or rats. They typically weigh around 5 lbs fully grown and have glossy brown fur with long tails. They also have large webbed feet which help them swim and dig if needed. They also have long front teeth very similar to that of a beaver.
Where Do Muskrats Live?:
Muskrats are semi-aquatic so they will make their homes in wetlands and other areas with access to water, such as lakes and ponds. Muskrats are nesting animals, which means they gather materials from their environment to make a home for them and their families. Similar to beavers, they will collect sticks, wood and mud to create a “push-up” home. This is all well and good when they’re out on in the middle of nowhere, but when it’s on your property that means muskrats will be looking for sources of wood (your trees, your plants, anything wood on your property).
Along with this, they are great diggers which means they might just burrow straight into the bank of the pond or lake, which allows them easy access in and out of the water.
What Do Muskrats Eat?:
They are attracted to these locations due to their abundance of food sources. Muskrats eat:
- Water Lilies
- They’ll also eat meat such as insects, snails, shellfish, frogs and salamanders if their plant food source is scarce.
Are Muskrats Aggressive And Will They Bite Humans?:
Generally speaking muskrats will attempt to stick to their own life, but it’s not uncommon for them to become aggressive they’re approached. Not only can muskrats can be aggressive to humans but they can also be aggressive to other animals like your dogs or cats. Along with this, muskrats are known to carry rabies, so you don’t want to risk any aggressive interaction with them.
If you have pets that play outdoors or small children that might run into muskrats, I’d definitely recommend you talking to a professional to ensure that no one in your family is put in danger from aggressive muskrats.
How To Get Rid Of Muskrats And Keep Them Gone!
Suggested For: Lakes, Ponds, or Water Gardens.
If you have a lake, pond or water garden on your property, chances are Muskrats are going to take notice of a new potential home. Because muskrats like to burrow in the banks of water sources, you can place a rubber bank liner to help deter them from making a home in your water. If muskrats find their way onto your property and notice bank linker, they’ll be deterred to burrowing and will most likely find a new place to call home!
Suggested For: Anyone dealing with a current muskrat infestation.
If you’re currently dealing with a muskrat infestation on your property, then you should look into live-trapping since that’s the most effective way to get rid of a current infestation. Muskrats are attracted to any appealing bait such as fruits or sweet potatoes, and by setting the traps near the waterline where you’ve seen muskrats. Because muskrats are nocturnal, you’ll have to check the trap every morning to ensure you can release them without harm.
After you’ve trapped a muskrat it’s suitable to release them away from your property in a suitable environment for them to create a new a better home. I’d suggest contacting your local wildlife office to be informed of local trapping regulations as well as a good place to release them.
Suggested For: Those with a new muskrat problem or those who are looking to keep muskrats away from their property.
The easiest way to get rid of muskrats, is to prevent them from finding your property as a new home in the first place! There are multiple natural repellents that will help to repel muskrats from finding your property appealing in the first place. This repellent works by tasting and smelling unappealing to muskrats and encourages them to find somewhere else to call home. These repellents will need to be sprayed on a weekly basis and after heavy rain to ensure max effectiveness!
Final Thoughts On Getting Rid of Muskrats:
Muskrats can be an extremely annoying to deal with, and can not only cause damage to your property but they can also be aggressive to humans and pets. Whether you currently have a muskrat problem or you’re looking to prevent one in the future, there are steps you can take to take matters into your own hands. Take a look at our other Pest Guides!
That being said, the best solution will always be to contact a professional to help eradicate your problem once and for all!