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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my pond was overrun with muskrats. Now all the muskrats are gone and I’m left with damage I’ve probably lost at least 5 feet of water in eight years I’ve been here. I do plan on renting a mini excavator. My question is has anybody ever dug up their Burroughs? How far back or how deep should I go to make sure that they are properly collapsed? I just want my pond to start holding water again. Just try not to create a bigger mess than what I’ve already got on my hands. Thanks.
 

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I’m going to dig a couple out as soon as the soil dries up-probably in June. I’m going to dig them out by hand and backfill with compacted clay mixed with bentonite. A mini excavator would be perfect for the job. I have one rat hole that is 15’ long. How did you end up getting rid of the rats? It’s a constant battle for me. One of my ponds has 3”-4” compacted stone rip rap around the perimeter, and they still dig into the bank on occasion. The other pond is all natural bank that they prefer. They are very good at destroying ponds, I hate rats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I’m not sure where they went, but they’re gone. They have managed to dig two natural banks up. I was definitely planning on waiting to dig until it got dryer. I guess I’ll have to go pick up some Bentonite. I’m wondering if it’s just one huge labyrinth down there. I’ve got an overflow creek behind my pond where they would usually come up and then come through my culvert. Luckily I haven’t seen one in over a year. So I’m hoping to be able to repair this damage. May hop on the YouTube and see if there’s videos on this.
 

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You guys need to find a local trapper. Problem is even if you remove them all, more will filter in at some point. It's a long term endeavor, just be glad it isn't beavers. As a general rule they like the higher banks. Sadly that is usually the dam on the smaller waters. Where are you guys located?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I’m out in Portage county. I’m gonna wait till it’s dry then rent a excavator and dig it up. I’m gonna take Muddy’s advice and backfill the holes with a clay/bentonite mix and hope it seals. I’m just curious as to how far they typically burrow into the bank. I took a closer look today and it looks like they had holes on three sides of my pond.
 

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I'm in Central Ohio. I do trap the rats, but it's a constant battle. There are a lot of ponds and wetlands in the area, and a creek runs along our property. For every rat that I take out, another one moves in.
 

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I've dug out dens in the dam side of my newer pond (there is more freeboard on this side) that only go about 3'-4' into the bank, and then opens up into a big open muskrat man cave. It's literally a big ass underground muskrat party room. I dug it open, stuck some traps in it, and covered the top of the hole with sod so that they didn't know that a human had disturbed their hang out. I have a run on the emergency spillway of the pond that I've determined goes for 15' or more before the little son of a gun ran into the back slope of the emergency spillway and popped back out. This spot is leaking now and preventing the pond from reaching full pool. At least it will be easy to repair because the burrow is pretty shallow. The older pond had some that went at least 10' from the waters edge that I filled in a couple years ago. It seems like they don't dig as far into high banks before getting cozy as they do on low banks, but I'm not 100% sure on that. I found a dead baby muskrat the other day that was the size of a baby mouse. I never realized that they were that small when they are born.
 

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The higher bank runs will be shorter. Their just looking to get high and dry. Low slopes they just keep on digging. There will be entrances in deeper water you might be missing. They will know you disturbed their den(s), best bet is to trap the entrances. Or make some pocket sets, guarded with a leghold trap. Shallow runs setup with a colony trap. (make sure it is submerged)
 

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Yep, that’s pretty much how I set. I use leg holds, conibears, and colony traps. I did get one out of the man cave set before they wised up to it. What do you mean by pocket sets?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I’m gonna ask a dumb question just because I really don’t know a whole lot about muskrats and pond maintenance. But I’m assuming that they are gone. I haven’t physically seen any in the pond recently and their holes aren’t flowing muddy water anymore. Is it safe to assume they’re gone or should I just air on the side of caution and maybe get some traps for the holes that I know were active? There were at least a dozen of them that were put in greener pastures last summer. And haven’t really seen any activity sense.
 

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So I’m gonna ask a dumb question just because I really don’t know a whole lot about muskrats and pond maintenance. But I’m assuming that they are gone. I haven’t physically seen any in the pond recently and their holes aren’t flowing muddy water anymore. Is it safe to assume they’re gone or should I just air on the side of caution and maybe get some traps for the holes that I know were active? There were at least a dozen of them that were put in greener pastures last summer. And haven’t really seen any activity sense.
I put myself through college back in the 80's off muskrat pelts. Later I was a trapper for the state. I now have a 1 acre pond 75' behind my house. I am betting that there are still some, if not a lot, still there in your pond. They are mostly nocturnal, so they could still be there and you won't know. Get some 110 conibear traps and set them in front of every hole you see. Make sure you get the triggers centered, or they will just knock it over. If it is a really active ditch run, put traps every 2' apart. Rats are dumb, and will swim over, or under their dead buddy to stick to their runs. The only way they may be gone is if you had a mink(s) go through. They will swim into a rat den and get them. I have caught a lot of minks accidentally in rat traps. You can manage them, but nothing will ever completely stop muskrats. I shot over a dozen last year out my back window, and trapped a few more! This goes on every year mostly in late fall into winter.
 

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Willyfield, I have a rat problem, but I have a dog that loves to hunt them and frogs constantly, doing laps around the pond just in the water. So what would you recommend in this situation, I obviously don't want the dog stepping in the Conibears. Do I just need to invest in a bunch of humane traps? Or try to shoot them when the dog isn't around? I have a creek that runs along the pond so I'm pretty sure I could never fully get rid of them
 

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The area around my run-off fed,1/2-2/3 acre, pond is pretty flat. I can raise or lower the level by increasing or lowering the 4” plastic ”overflow“ drain riser. After a recent two incheis of rain fell in my area, the level came up to the top edge of my bank to the very edge of the mowed grass. This essentially flooded out their already minimally shallow tunnels! What this means is that prior to this, I had a couple swimming around in the pond late evenings and early in the morning. I left the pond height high for a few days, now they’ve moved on, or drowned?! Good riddance! I might have to resort to this tactic again should more show up. I’ve recommended the chain link fence bank layer on here before w/o any feedback but if they can’t chew/scratch thru it, they can’t build a burrow!
 

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I’ve been digging out and backfilling muskrat runs all summer. Here’s the largest one. Two tunnels came up and converged into a den. Picture of it dug out.
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Backfilling and tamping
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with a mixture of clay and bentonite.

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And the finished repair compacted with layer of topsoil going down. I made several smaller repairs as well. I really don’t like muskrats.
 
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