Request A Free Estimate

How to Get Rid of Muskrats

Muskrat Standing In Water

Muskrats are vital to the ecosystem and wildlife balance. You can trust the experts at Varment Guard for humane and ecologically-sensitive removal.


Common Name: Muskrat

Scientific Name: Ondatra zibethicus

To learn more about wildlife removal, take a look at our Wildlife Removal & Trapping page.

What are Muskrats?

Muskrats are herbivore mammals that are common in the Midwest. Muskrats are great at swimming and build their homes in water, where they spend most of their time feeding and raising their young.

Muskrats are vital to the ecosystem and wildlife balance. You can trust the experts at Varment Guard for humane and ecologically-sensitive removal.

Muskrat Near Water

Muskrat Eating Leaf

Muskrat Diet & Characteristics

Muskrats eat roots, stems, leaves, and fruits from many water and land plants. These plants include cattails, water lilies, decorative plants, and garden vegetables.

Along with plants, the muskrat also consumes small fish, clams, snails, and even turtles.

The muskrat’s main predators are mink and otters. Some more muskrat predators include:

  • Hawks
  • Eagles
  • Owls
  • Ospreys
  • Foxes
  • Coyotes
  • Raccoons

The muskrat is found throughout the Midwest including Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Minnesota, where they live in marshes, ponds, and streams. Several hundred muskrats can live in a single area of wetland!

Muskrat Pest Status

Muskrats often are regarded as pests simply by their very presence and appearance in and around landscaping ponds on private residential and commercial property. Beyond that, muskrats often burrow into, and cause damage to the shorelines, dams and levees of ponds and reservoirs. They may cause significant feeding damage to ornamentals in urbanized areas, as well as to crops in agricultural settings near inhabited bodies of water.

Muskrat Swimming


Reduce Water Level

Muskrat-infested ponds can be cleared of these animals and rendered less habitable by drawing the water level down 2 to 3 feet below normal levels during winter. This will expose dens, burrows and runs so they can be filled in with stone. Dams and levees will also be exposed so they can be reinforced (by rip-rapping) with stone after fumigation. Any reopened holes should be retreated.

Lethal- And Live-Trapping

Leg-hold traps (No. 1, 1 ½ or 2 long spring or coil spring) are frequently used in drowning sets. Body-grip traps are very effective when placed strategically (e.g., den entrances, trails, feed beds and other frequented sites) in underwater and shoreline sets. Small wire-mesh suitcase traps are effective for trapping muskrats underwater; these are lethal by drowning.

Trapping muskrats helps keep these prolific animals in balance and prevents damage to lake seawalls, river banks, and retention ponds.


  • Adult body length (without tail): 8 to 18 inches
  • Adult body weight: 1 1/2 to 5 pounds
  • Gestation period: 22 to 30 days
  • Litters per year: 2 to 3
  • Litter size: 1 to 15 young (usually 4 to 8)
  • Breeding season: February through August
  • Birthing season: March through September
  • Age at which young are weaned: 4 weeks
  • Activity period: Night: pre-sunset through post-dawn
  • Range: 1 to 9 acres
  • Primary foods: Herbaceous and aquatic plants, grasses, crops and legumes

We can rid you of muskrats safely and efficiently!

Schedule Now