Muskrats – the battle begins

Down at the pond, this morning …

I found some muskrat tells …

3 lily pads, separated at the base of the stem, from the tuber.  Meaning it was likely done by a muskrat gnawing on the tuber.

They were all in the same spot – the NW corner, where I’d found a single lily pad 2 days back.

So – I called the trapper – leaving a phone number this time.  And, he called back.  But … he’s out of town for 3-4 weeks, at a trappers convention, no less (who knew?).

So again – undaunted – I went down to the pond – and found two old traps.  Pulling one out that I’d set last winter (it was empty and sprung).

And I set one, and put it right here …

Just like this …

Hoping for the best.  I simply hate muskrats.

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!!!!

Eureka – one less muskrat

Today – my first muskrat … caught in the trap I’d been focusing on, set on a hole to the den on the SW side of the pond.  I’d reset it yesterday, pushing it down firmly into the mud in front of that entrance.

And at noon today, when I went down to the pond, there was a muskrat caught in the trap – it’s butt sticking out of the hole.  Obviously caught as it was entering the den through that hole.

Do not know how the muskrat came to be outside of the den, as they are nocturnal.  So it was likely inside a den when I set the trap around noon yesterday.

So, either there are other holes I haven’t found yet for this den, or it was using both dens (there’s one in the NW corner, and this one in the SW side) and moving from one to the other.

Excuse me for not providing a pic.

Smart Muskrats

Smart muskrats …

Well, I had nailed their entrances with the new trap sets yesterday – BUT – sometime during the night, they saw their entrances blocked, and rather than trip the traps, they dug an escape hole out the bank. Further, they had turned the newly set trap sideways, so they could continue using the old entrance apparently – and I’m guessing they did this from outside the hole, by pushing on the handle.  They had also dug a new underwater entrance 2m from the ones I’d successfully blocked with the traps.  Smart muskrats.