When I discovered a little muskrat hut in my pond, I was somewhat charmed by the idea of more wildlife adding to our menagerie. I pulled the nest out of the water and tore it apart before it got out of hand. Little did I know the battle had just begun.
Over the course of a couple weeks, more mounds appeared one by one. First, on the shore side of one of the big boulders on the edge of the pond. It seemed improbable that a muskrat would build a hut out of the water, but when we pulled it away, we found that he’d dug a tunnel under the boulder as a nice back door through the water and up into his dry nest.
My husband went poking around and discovered all three boulders in the pond had tunnels dug under them and there were the beginnings of more nests behind each one. This explains the muddy mess the dog had made, digging holes at the shore. He must have smelled it. Once again, we cleaned out the mounds and this time hauled all the cut cattails far away from the pond to prevent them from being reused as building materials.
A few days later, I found a new hut out in the cattails that were almost out of reach of my rake. This is getting less charming all the time. I managed to snag the mound and pull it to shore again, and spent another hour raking in everything I could reach and scattering it in the field.
Sure enough, the next day there was another new mound beginning to form beyond my reach. My husband borrowed a trap from a friend and after a few days’ wait, we caught him. He is small, scared, and cuddly-looking, but he now has been moved to a new terrain many miles away. It remains to be seen whether he had a partner. We’ll reset the trap and cross our fingers that we’ve solved this threat to the pond liner.