After they dig themselves out, muskrats can continue to feed on stalky or woody river plants like cattails. Most individuals in the mountains have been observed in valley areas at elevations below 2400ft (Linzey and Linzey 1971). Kits are naked and blind at birth, weighing less than 1 ounce each. Like most smaller mammals, muskrats are hard to track. Muskrats, like many other wildlife species, show large fluctuations in numbers that follow what appears to be a regular pattern. 12 Years. By six weeks of age, the pups are fully independent, and the female usually has another litter on the way. In less than a week a muskrat chewed my transducer cable in half. After breeding, gestation lasts about a month, and a litter of 5-10 young are born. In shal-low water areas with plentiful vegeta-tion, they use plant materials to construct houses, generally conical in shape (Fig. In southern environments, young muskrats mature in six months, while in colder northern environments, it takes about a year. Gestation period of 29 or 30 days. Life Expectancy 3 to 5 years. They also want water that is generally quiet and undisturbed, so introducing an aeration system that will pump air through the water is also a good way of making the pond unwelcoming to muskrats. This includes streams, ponds, lakes, marshes, canals, roadside ditches, swamps, beaver ponds, mine pits, and other wetland areas. Since muskrats are also very well known for their silky soft pelts for use with fur coats and other fur products, there are some regulations in place about removing them. Females can have two or three litters a year of six to eight young each. This smell on the plants will make muskrats go awry. They are omnivorous and mostly feed on crops and vegetation, but opt for a frog or snail every now and again. Mothers have between three and six young per litter, and have two or three litters annually. Figure 4. Found throughout New York State, muskrats occupy a variety of aquatic habitats including ponds, lakes, marshes and streams, and can also occur in brackish habitats. Then, relocate the muskrat(s) to a more natural wetland area or pond at least a few miles away from significant human habitation. Muskrats can utterly devastate your gardens which can be a really big problem if you have a show garden or use your yard to grow food. They do this by slowing down their heart rate under water and drawing in oxygen from their muscle tissue. Muskrats can easily spread diseases even to humans. An adult female can have two or three litters of up to 10 young each summer. Muskrats also can give a warning slap with the tail, similar to the beaver. Muskrat Board Set - My preferred set to use after enough ice has formed and you can safely walk across the lake or pond. Learn more about muskrats in Illinois in Outdoor Illinois Wildlife Journal: 2019-2020 Furbearer Forecast Muskrats are an important part of the food web because they are a food source for many predators. Gestation lasts around 4 weeks, and babies are hairless and tiny, weighing less than an ounce at birth. Can breed at any time of the year. This gruesome behavior keeps their numbers in proportion to the food supply. Muskrats can breed year round, but most breed in March-May. Muskrats can be trapped or even shot depending on the local laws. They can also weaken the sides of a water bank which can cause it to collapse on the muskrat or you if you put too much weight on it. They are less common to rare in the mountains, piedmont and southern portions of the coastal plain (Lee et al. Common ingredients of the repellents include cayenne pepper, garlic pepper, water, coyote/fox urine. Muskrats can live almost any place where water and food are available year-round. In marshes muskrats build domelike houses of vegetation up to 1.2 m high and 1.8 m across; in ponds and streams they dig bank burrows. The runs are distinct trails in the ground perpendicular to the shoreline. Damages also occur to irrigation canals and farm ponds. 4). Muskrats breed year round in more southerly latitudes, but the breeding season in Kentucky usually runs from March through October, peaking in March through June. Muskrats chewed every wire that they could get to. Muskrats are part of a natural aquatic environment but their digging can cause damage to ponds. To prevent water from getting in its mouth while chewing underwater, they have fur mouth flaps behind their teeth. Damage to Garden Plants ; If you own a garden and are close to a water body, then your garden may be a target. Muskrats are prolific breeders and can produce an entire generation in about 30 to 60 days under optimal conditions. Muskrats produce many young. How to Get Rid of Muskrats in the Yard - Muskrats are water rodents and live on dams that they build across ponds or lakes, effectively damming the water body. They avoid humans and will generally flee from you if you encounter them. Average litter size is 4. I have not had a problem with muskrats for 2 years. With plenty of natural repellents sprays for muskrats available in the market, you can buy one and spray it on the plants to avoid muskrats in your garden. Here's some suggestions from The Pond Guy. This includes streams, ponds, lakes, marshes, canals, roadside ditches, swamps, beaver ponds, mine pits, and other wetland areas. Young Kits. 1982). Their fur can vary in shades of brown and in some cases black and consists of a soft, dense undercoat with an interspersion of longer, coarse guard hairs. Muskrats typically breed from early spring until late summer, with the lion’s share of young being born between April and June. Are muskrats dangerous? Muskrats are incapable of hibernating or entering torpor. Management of Nuisances: Sometimes muskrats are considered a nuisance if they damage a garden or crops by their feeding activities or if they burrow into dams and dikes. - Mary A . In winter they eat in "push-ups," minihouses over plunge holes in the ice, where they can be trapped. Feb 13, 2008 151 1 144 Idaho. They swim and dive well and eat many kinds of aquatic plants, especially cattails. By two weeks of age, the pups will be fully furred and will have open eyes. Poisoning a muskrat can be an effective method for killing muskrats, especially if there is more than one living in the area. 4). That’s because muskrats can forage for food under the ice thanks to their ability to hold their breath for up to 15 minutes at a time. Fall populations can exceed eight muskrats per acre in good marsh habitats. Muskrat house. If you live near water, muskrats can cause destruction and erosion with all of their burrowing and they often carry many parasites and diseases that can be harmful to humans and other animals. The babies are born small and hairless, and weigh only about 22 g (0.78 oz). You can get fairly close to muskrats, say within 20 or 30 yards, before they take umbrage, and if they don't dive with a snap of the tail they usually glare at you as they hurry by swimming right below you on the way to their burrow. Muskrats depend on plants growing in the water for the majority of their food, so removing cattails and other plants can make the pond less attractive to muskrats. Make sure to contact your local wildlife office to figure out trapping and relocation regulations and procedures. Take advantage of this by making your own float set. 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