leaking pond and muskrats

pacmom23May 20, 2007

Our pond level has slowly declined since we bought our place. In walking the shore line, I notice multiple depressions in a particular area. An earlier post from blueberrier - who has the same problem - suggested muskrats. I set out some corn and HORRORS, I have muskrats! I can start trapping them, to rid the pond and surrounding area of them. How then, will I go about finding the exact location of the leak? If I assume it is in the area where I found the depressions, can I successfully plug it?

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Dibbit(z7b SC)

Talk to your local county extension agent. It's the sort of thing s/he should be able to advise on. My feeling is yes, it can be "patched", but I don't know details. And you will have to be vigilant against the creatures in the future - where one family liked it, another is sure to.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 8:19AM
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Yes you can put rock on shore lines they usually only go down below water suface.They dont like rock.They can empty a pond in no time.Usually to find the leak just look for the hole they entered.Sometimes it can be 6'away from water they tunnel to pond.We filled holes with rock, ground.Then get yourself a jack russell he'll keep them at bay.We had a mom and babies under ground the dogs could hear them under the ground and dug them out.They do have a trap just for them.But I have swans on pond cant use them.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 9:07AM
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While muskrats might undermine the sides and dam of your pond, the problem isn't so much from the den itself. Being a mammal, like us, they require air to breathe, so other than the tunnel into the den, the majority of the den is high enough to be above water. (The same situation as in a Beaver lodge.) The problem with the muskrat dens is that over time the soil collapses into the dens, and you end up with holes that weaken the dam or are hazardous to animals and humans.

Personally, I think you need to trap or hunt them until the population is eliminated from your pond. As to correcting the leaking problem, you might be fighting a loosing cause. You might end up having to drain the pond and then line the bottom and sides with a material (I can't remember the name) which is a clay from mining/quarrying.

I hope your local extension agent can be more encouraging, but you might have more problems with the pond than the muskrats. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 4:15PM
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I am forever indebted to the information I obtain from this forum. I contacted my local extension office. I opted to use a small live trap, and had DH anchor it down just above the shore line - in front of one of the many holes present in a concentrated region of the shore. We have since trapped 5 muskrat (ugly little beasts) with a fresh cob of corn and transported them 15 miles away to a pond with wetland area that is not in use by animal or human. We placed rock (known as riprap, down on the shore from 2 ft above and 2 ft below the water line). We then added bentonite to seal any gaps. We continue to pursue trapping additional muskrats. I have also learned that cat tail is the preferred food and will attempt to eliminate this from the pond and wetland.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 5:42PM
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Relocating Problem Wild Animals
Not as humane as you might think
Many people believe that it is more humane to relocate problem wildlife than to kill the offending animal. While on its face, this idea seems to make sense. Taking the animal and putting him back into the woods, "where he belongs" sounds reasonable.
Unfortunately for the animal, relocation has a number of bad side effects.

1. Relocated animals must find new food sources in an unfamiliar environment.

2. Relocated animals must find new shelter in an unfamiliar environment. In the winter time, relocated wildlife have precious little time to find shelter.

3. Relocated animals must do number 1 and 2 above while avoiding predators. It must also do those tasks before weather, food and water conditions take their toll.

4. Your relocation may result in the deaths of young through starvation that have now lost their mother from your relocating her away from her young.

5. Relocating animals raises the risk of relocating a disease like rabies or distemper to new and uninfected locales/populations. Like what happened with the Mid Atlantic Rabies Outbreak.

6. It may also be illegal in your state. Presently, Massachusetts, Connecticut and possibly others have some sort of ban on the translocation of wildlife.

And, in addition, you may be creating problems for other people/gardeners/orchardists, etc., by dumping your unwanted damaging wildlife on them.

Finally, most problem wildlife are NOT members of an endangered species, and the correct thing to do, if they're causing problems, is to rapidly and humanely terminate them.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 3:10PM
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Pacmom and others,

It was suggested to me that pigs, goats and sheep are all good animals to trial for soil compaction around a leaky pond. No mention was ever made of muskrats that I recall.

So far, I have a still lowering pond since my area is short on rainfall. So far, have not gotten the shed up for the animals as new chicks are priority just now.

We do not plan to add packing materials. Would rather fill the area in or let it go boggy naturally . That would mean those soft shelled snapping turtles would travel to the nearest pond or stream. If we raise ducks and geese again, we'll use a kids wading pool.

Lucky p, agree with your comments. Living in the country, it still amazes me that city folks still "drop off" their no longer wanted dogs and cats...as they are sure to find a "good home" on a farm. These ex-city pets can really skewer the country areas dogs and cats. This sort of parallels the "relocating" wildlife idea. Not trying to offend anyone, but we all need to broaden our knowledge of cause-effect when it comes to our environmental diversity.

cella jane

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 9:20PM
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