Is it a beaver? A rat? A rodent at all? Many people are confused about these semi-aquatic animals known as muskrats. If you are one of these people, then you are in the right place!
Continue below to review some of the most common questions and answers surrounding these interesting and misunderstood herbivore animals, including what to do if they have become a nuisance to your residential or commercial property.
Muskrat FAQS You Want to Know
Are Muskrats Rodents?
Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) are semi-aquatic rodents. That’s right; rodents. They are members of the “Rodentia” order, which they share with several other species of rodent. As semi-aquatic animals, muskrats live near bodies of water. This includes rivers, marches, swamps, lakes, canals, and even drainage conduits.
If the area has 4 to 6 feet of slow-moving, calm waters and abundant vegetation, you are likely to find evidence of muskrat activity. In marshes, they build dome-shaped lodges made of plants that can span up to 6 feet across or more! These lodges can have inner chambers, portals, and underwater access holes. In other habitats, like rivers and lakes, they dig burrows in the banks for shelter.
What Does a Muskrat Look Like?
They are an average of 1 to 2 feet long, with stocky bodies, round heads, thick fur, and long black scaly tails. Their tails can reach lengths between 7 and 12 inches long! And more interestingly, their tails are laterally-flattened, meaning they are vertically flat.
This style of tail works like a rudder on a boat, helping them swim through water with speed and agility. Their rear webbed feet are a big help with this too. They also have long sharp front teeth that allow them to rip through meat and plant fibers with ease. They can even use their chompers effectively under water!
What Do Muskrats Eat?
Muskrats, as semi-aquatic animals usually do, eat mostly an aquatic-based diet. They are crepuscular foragers, meaning they are active during the dawn and dusk hours of the day; and they are omnivores as well, eating fish, shellfish, and amphibians, as well as cattails, sedges, and other aquatic vegetation.
In detail, they eat snails, crayfish, mussels, clams, frogs, fish, cattails, and more. Once they find their food, they take it to a communal platform (made of mud and plants and usually out in the water) to store it there for later. This is their feeding station where they can enjoy their meals without fear of predators or thieves.
Do Muskrats Have Predators?
Like many animals, muskrats have to watch out for predators preying on them. Although minks and otters are the most common predators of muskrats, other species of wildlife also hunt them, including flying predators like eagles, hawks, owls, and osprey, as well as grounded ones like raccoons, coyotes, and foxes.
How Do I Get Rid of Muskrats That are a Nuisance?
Muskrats can become a nuisance animal on your property in many ways. Mostly, they burrow excessively around or along riverbanks and reservoirs, damaging shorelines, dams, and levees. This can lead to property flooding, excess water runoff, and ecological and agricultural implications.
To get rid of muskrats that are disturbing your property, you will need to hire a professional Indianapolis critter control company to implement some strategic environmental modifications. Such modifications may include lowering the water level of your pond and live animal trapping and relocation.
Are you looking for a safe and humane way of dealing with nuisance muskrats on your Indiana property? Contact Budget Animal Removal at 317-875-3099 for professional critter control for muskrats in Indianapolis and its surrounding regions. We serve residential and commercial clients.