Is there a way to discourage muskrats from digging into the shore around a retention pond?

Asked June 27, 2014, 5:04 PM EDT

Is there a way to discourage muskrats from digging into the shore around a retention pond? This is in my back yard.

Onondaga County New York

1 Response

Dear OnondagaCo NY, Thank you for contacting Extension with your wildlife concerns. So good to hear from the Empire State! Up there in NY, Cornell is your Extension university. They do an excellent job. I spent the 1990's in Buffalo. You have a beautiful state. Let's look a your problem. Muskrats digging into the bank of a pond. Yes, you can stop them. First make sure they are muskrats and not beavers. Muskrats have the round rat tail, and beavers have that flat tail. If either animal is digging into the bank they are probably looking for a place to make a home. Depending upon your location, your first option is to kill the animal. Quietly sitting out by the pond in the morning/evening with a .22 rifle or a 410 shotgun will do the job. If this is not an option, trapping might be. You can do this yourself if you care to learn, or hire a professional trapper. Check with NYDEC about shooting nuisance animals and trapping regulations. If you do not want to kill the animal, you will have to make it so unbearable for it, so that it moves elsewhere. First you will need to fence off the bank. Place T-posts in the water and around the shore, then string heavy gage fencing along the posts. Basically you are fencing off this area from everything. Hopefully the muskrat will leave the area. If you can find some firecrackers up there, again you can sit down by the pond a light a pack of twenty. The noise and craziness of the explosions run off just about anything except humans. You cannot poison them. To easy to kill off target animals. The lethal approach works best. Duke Traps is a good source. I hope this helps. Blessings. - Andy