What do I do about Muskrats in a Backyard Pond ??

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Jake Langeslag
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Location: Faribault, MN

What do I do about Muskrats in a Backyard Pond ??

Post by Jake Langeslag »

I have started to run into this issue a few times as of late for backyard ponds in Minnesota:

What do I do about muskrats in a backyard pond?

I have heard of this issue happening three times now (one person from the Minnesota Water Garden Society) and 2 cases within my own business. Here is what happened in two of the cases:

1st Senario: The customer realized that he was losing massive amounts of water each day and could not figure out why. Then one day he looked out the window and saw a muskrat swimming in the pond. The muskrat came in and chewed a hole through the liner in the absolute WORST possible location (the area directly under the waterfall) :shock: . He also had large stone work put on the liner so it as a chore to remove them to make a seam patch. This little brown :evil: didnt just make one hole, he almost chewed out an entire bank of about 6 feet wide! No wonder the customer was losing so much water!
We had the muskrat removed and then we seamed a new piece of liner in. We also used 2 inch thick slate rocks around the rim and then put the boulder work on top of that. We also added smaller 1 1/2" rocks in between the cracks to make a STONE FORTRESS.
To my knowledge no new muskrats have come back since, however, this pond is located within 200 ft of a lake so one could come back at any time.

2nd Senario: This customer had built his own pond 10 years ago (he lives about 300 ft from a lake) and had never had a muskrat in his pond. Then one day he was cleaning his skimmer and he saw a flash of something brown and skinny. He first thought it was a snake and thought nothing of it. Then the next time he went to clean the skimmer he got a better glimpse of it and noticed it was a muskrat. He also noticed that his skimmer net was in shreds! He noticed that he was losing water and found out he had a hole. I gave this customer a piece of liner and some seaming supplies and he patched up the hole.

So if i were you and I had a muskrat in my pond i would do ANYTHING to get it out ASAP! I hope your trapping friend was able to catch it. Depending on your pond clarity I would even consider getting a long handled (about 10 ft long) larger minnow net (I know they have them at Cabelas) and try to scoop him out. He may shred your net a bit, but i would take a shredded $20 net over a hole in the liner.

If you live in an area that you suspect more may return I would recommend that you build some sort of "Stone Fortress" like i mentioned above OR :arrow:

Get some stainless steel mesh and sandwich it between two pieces of underlayment. A pond contractor told me that they do this mesh method on larger features and run it down the first 5 feet of the side slopes around the edge. Usually muskrats only burrow at the waters surface. If you ran mesh down 2 feet, I would hope that would stop them from chewing through the liner.

Any new pond feature that I do in close proximity to natural ponds or lakes that contains muskrats I add this mesh protection. A little bit of preventative protection in the beginning can save a lot of hassle later :!:
Jake Langeslag

"Creating Waterscape Paradises"
Faribault, Minnesota
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