How To Trap Muskrats: Easy To Do Steps

Whether you’re managing a muskrat population or exploring ethical trapping methods, you need to know how to trap muskrats effectively and legally.

This article will teach you all you need to know about muskrats, from the smells that attract them to the best traps to the regulations that govern them, and even some fascinating information about their behavior.

Keep reading to learn how to legally and humanely trap muskrats without compromising the local ecosystem.


Are Muskrats Aggressive?

How To Trap Muskrats
A picture of a muskrat on a branch


Muskrats are not aggressive. Unless they feel threatened, muskrats will avoid humans and only fight back if necessary. Aggression is possible during the breeding season or when defending territory. You should keep your distance and just watch them from afar.

A veterinarian should be consulted if a muskrat suddenly becomes hostile; this behavior may be an indication of disease. Contacting local wildlife authorities or professionals is recommended when you are unsure about a muskrat’s behavior or if it appears to be sick or injured.


Do Muskrats Attack Humans?

No, muskrats do not attack humans. Most of the time, they avoid contact and attempt to hide. However, when threatened, they may resort to biting or making noise as a means of self-defense. You should give them space and refrain from approaching them.


What Scent Attracts Muskrats?

Muskrats are attracted to many smells, but one that works especially well is castoreum, which is made by the castor sacs near the muskrat’s tail.

It smells strong and musty, and it is often used as a base in muskrat attractants. Another smell that can draw muskrats is food-based scents like vanilla, anise, or fruits.

Adding these smells to plants or things that they would normally find in their environment can make the lure work better.


Read also: How To Tell If Roaches Are Dying


Are Muskrats Afraid of Humans?

Muskrats typically avoid contact with humans and are difficult to spot. They are shy around humans and will usually go for the nearest body of water or burrow if they spot one.

Their acquaintance with humans, the nature of the area, and the character of the individual muskrat all play a role in how fearful or wary they are of humans.

While muskrats are generally not hostile towards humans, they can defend themselves if they feel threatened. It’s best to keep your distance from muskrats and watch them from afar if you want to prevent disrupting their normal behavior and putting undue stress on the creatures.


What Are The Common Uses For Captured Muskrats

There are a variety of reasons why people might want to catch a muskrat, based on factors including law enforcement, environmental concerns, and individual preferences. Captured muskrats are often put to the following uses:

  • Fur Trade
    Warm and long-lasting, muskrat fur is highly sought after. The fur industry has long relied on muskrat fur for the production of outerwear, headwear, and accessories.
  • Wildlife Management
    Capturing muskrats can help reduce their numbers and lessen the damage they cause to wetland habitats in places where they have become overpopulated and are considered a nuisance.
  • Pest Control
    Burrowing along the edges of waterways or ponds, muskrats may cause damage to crops or infrastructure. In such a scenario, trapping is a viable option for controlling the insect population.
  • Research and Education
    Scientists can investigate the biology, ecology, and behavior of muskrats by capturing them. They could be used in classrooms to demonstrate wetland habitats and the wildlife that calls them home.
  • Meat
    Although it is not widely eaten, muskrat meat is a common dish in several countries. The consumption of muskrat meat must be in accordance with all applicable state and federal laws pertaining to food safety.
  • Art and Craft
    Artisans and designers have long made use of muskrat parts like teeth, bones, and fur. Jewellery, sculptures, and other works of art are only some of the things that some artists use these materials for.
  • Falconry Bait
    When training and feeding falcons, muskrats make for excellent bait. In certain countries, this has long been the norm.


Do Muskrats Chew Wood?

Yes, muskrats are known to chew on wood. They chew on vegetation, such as aquatic plant stems and roots and woody vegetation near the water’s edge, with their sharp incisor teeth.

Apart from being a key element of how they consume food, this action also helps them build lodges and burrows. Muskrats construct their nests from plant matter, mud, and wood, with the latter element playing a significant part in the shaping and building processes.


Read also: How To Keep Spiders Out Of Your Basement


Recommended Traps for Muskrats

When looking for the right trap for muskrats, you ought to go for the most humane and lawful traps. These are some of the most popular muskrat traps:

1. Conibear Traps

How To Trap Muskrats
A picture of a Conibear 120 trap

A lot of people use conibear traps to catch muskrats. They are made to kill the animal quickly and gently. For muskrats, choose traps that are the right size, like the 110 or 120 models.

2. Live Traps

How To Trap Muskrats
An example of a live trap

Live traps are a gentle way to catch muskrats without hurting them. The muskrat is caught live in these traps, so it can be moved to a better place. Make sure you know the rules in your area about using live traps and letting animals go after you catch them.

3. Foothold Traps

How To Trap Muskrats
A picture of a Foothold trap

If you use foothold traps properly and in a responsible way, they can also catch muskrats. Use traps that are made for small mammals and make sure they are set up in a way that keeps the animal from getting hurt.

Water Sets

Muskrats spend a lot of time in the water, so traps placed along their paths of movement or near their homes and food sources can catch them. In water sets, you can use both conibear traps and platform traps.



Are There Any Specific Regulations For Muskrat Trapping?

Muskrat trapping is subject to specific regulations that vary by location. Following these standards is necessary for ethical and lawful trapping. Muskrat trapping seasons are often regulated. Authorities often specify trap types and sizes, such as Conibear and foothold traps.

Trap placement guidelines may include water source and trail distances. To prevent animal suffering, trap checks are usually required. Licenses or permits are often necessary, and laws may emphasize releasing non-target species unharmed if accidentally captured.

Authorities can also regulate humane trapping. Contact local wildlife agencies or conservation offices for the latest and region-specific muskrat trapping rules to guarantee compliance. Not following these principles may have legal ramifications and affect wildlife conservation.


How Do I Scare Away A Muskrat

To discourage a muskrat without causing harm, consider employing non-lethal methods. As muskrats are typically timid creatures, the presence of loud noises or other disruptions in their habitat can make the area less desirable.

Take advantage of the fact that they are partially aquatic by using sprinklers or water jets to ward them off. You can lessen their interest in your property by removing plants or other vegetation they find appealing.

Preventing burrowing can be facilitated by installing fencing around the afflicted region, with the fence going below ground. Muskrats can be discouraged from your property by introducing natural predators like birds of prey and by removing or securing feeding sources.

Be careful of local laws and ethics when dealing with wildlife, and if problems persist, contact your area’s wildlife management agency for advice on compassionate and lawful options.


Read also: How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees Wd40: 7 Effective Ways


How To Trap Muskrats

When choosing how to trap muskrats, it’s important to choose ways that are both humane and legal. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can successfully trap muskrats:

1. Check Local Laws

Before setting traps, make sure you know what the rules are in your area about catching muskrats. Get the licenses or permits that are needed in your area.

2. Pick The Right  Traps

Pick traps that are made for muskrats. People often use conibear traps, like the #110 or #120 types. Make sure that the size and type rules are followed.

3. Find  Muskrat Activity

Find places where muskrats are active, like near water, food sources, or dens. Look for mudslides, tracks, or other clues that muskrats have been there.

4. Set Traps Correctly

Place traps along muskrats’ paths of movement, near the entrances to their burrows, or on platforms where they can eat. The right location is very important for success.

5. Bait the Traps

Set the traps with muskrat-friendly bait, like fresh fruits and veggies or muskrat lures that you can buy in stores. Muskrats will come to the traps if the food is placed in the right places.

6. Secure the Traps

Make sure the traps are firmly attached so that muskrats can’t pull them away. If you are putting traps in water, make sure they are attached to stakes or anchors.

7. Check Traps Regularly

Check traps often to see if you have caught the muskrats and also to cut down on the time between catching an animal and sending it to its proper home. Local rules say that traps must be checked at least once every 24 hours.

8. Release Non-Target Animals

If non-target species are caught by accident, let them go without hurting them. Be ready for the chance that you will catch other animals.

9. Humanely Dispatch Trapped Muskrats

Release trapped Muskrats quickly and humanely to keep them from suffering. Follow the steps that are suggested for the type of trap that is being used.



Muskrat trapping is a complicated task that needs a mix of knowledge, moral considerations, and following the rules. This article tells you everything you need to know, from choosing the right bait to knowing how they act. Remember that proper trapping methods protect the health of both muskrats and the areas they live in.

Always put the well-being of animals first and follow the rules and laws in your area. If you don’t know how to trap or have questions, you might want to ask more experienced trappers or local wildlife officials for help.

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