Controlling Nuisance Muskrats in Missouri Ponds and Lakes
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Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) are medium-sized, brown rodents with a thick body and short legs (Figure 1). An adult typically weighs about 2.5 pounds and is 22 to 25 inches long, including its 11-inch black tail. The vertically flattened tail, which is scaly and practically hairless, is used as a prop when the animal is on its hind feet and as an aid to swimming. The large, broad hind feet are partially webbed and well adapted for swimming. The feeding habits of muskrats may result in damage to agricultural or ornamental crops growing near water, but the principal cause for concern is the potential damage to ponds and lagoons and other earthen water-retaining structures. Damage occurs from muskrat burrowing and tunneling activities that may result in water leaks or in the loss of stored water.
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