Where's Ratty??

Muskrat Damage to the Pond

Ouch … those ratty muskrats!!!

Just one month ago …

One month ago, water lilies untouched ...
One month ago, water lilies untouched …

And now, this …

Water lilies, after one month
No more water lilies, after one month of muskrats

So, I managed to get off one good shot

The Vigil
The Vigil

Just one shot, for many many hours of hunting, sitting still, in a chair, down by the pond.  Had ratty in the crosshairs, pulled the trigger, and he dived.  No blood.  The next day, he or another muskrat, was seen crossing the pond with a mouth full of plant matter.  They are so careful.  Trapping’s the only way – and I haven’t been able to find their hole, this season.  Not yet.  And now, it’s too late to save the pond – but I will eradicate those muskrats, this year, anyway.

First Water Lily Visible

First Time This Year – One water lily leaf is visible on the surface.  Two from other plants are visible below the surface.  Tomorrow, should be 3 plants with visible leaves.

No sign of any live muskrats.

The brown coloring in the water showed up again.  Like last spring.

Very wet behind the pond.  It leaks, you know.  From the muskrats.  My my.

Fading Sink Tulips

Muskrats in the Spring

Spring is so brassy …

Spring is Big
Spring is Big

And sometimes, it brings muskrats …

Muskrat signs on the pond bottom – first of the season.  The fresh tan dirt on the normally dark bottom, indicates a muskrat has been holing out my bank nearby.

Tan dirt on pond bottom
Tan dirt on pond bottom
Tan dirt from ratty holing out my pond bank
Tan dirt from ratty holing out my pond bank

I found the hole – after 10 minutes or so of searching – had to bend up a pole to find it. It was narrower than others I’ve found.

Muskrat Hole Finding Tool
Muskrat Hole Finding Tool

So I grabbed a rusting #110 trap, set it, and placed it over the hole.  A stick helps keep it upright.  And a stake through the ring chained to the trap keeps everything from being carted away by other animals, or an animal wounded in the trap.  I think it’s usually fatal though.

A #110 Muskrat Trap set
A #110 Muskrat Trap set
Closer look
Taking a step back …
Some older nearby holes ...
Some older nearby holes …

I hope it hasn’t already eaten the water lily bulbs I put in earlier this spring.

Minks – who knew?

Trapping – this morning, found a mink in the trap – it had been trying to enter the muskrat den through the underwater entrance, which of course had the trap set over it. I noticed too, that the hole above the den, was still in use, and had been tightened up – it was smooth from use, where the first day I saw it, it was just loose dirt. So – was the mink using the muskrat den? Anyway, I reset the trap, over the same underwater entrance.

So – total to date, taken over the last 3 days – 2 muskrats and 1 mink.

Neverending saga – had no idea so much was going on down there – only saw a muskrat once. Never saw a mink. Seen great herons, green herons, turtles, tads n frogs, northern water snakes – use to see water lilies, but the muskrats ate em. And seen dragon flies galore, all kinds of water bugs on top of the water, and nymphs in the water. Birds, ducks and geese. Rabbits galore. Deer tracks (almost every day  during the cold months) – but deer sightings are rare (I only saw one so far). But the muskrats and minks were a surprise this year – although it’s apparent the muskrats had started eating the phragmites and cattails last year, but we just thought it was something seasonal, till they kept disappearing this year, along with the water lilies.

But those rats ate all of my water filters (all water lilies, most phragmites and all cattails) – and I look forward to the pond becoming pristine again next year – as I replant it – minus a few muskrats!!!!