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What will tear off a muskrats head? I caught one with the head torn off and my friend caught 3 without heads. would it be mink?

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  • What will tear off a muskrats head? I caught one with the head torn off and my friend caught 3 without heads. would it be mink?

    What will tear off a muskrats head? I caught one with the head torn off and my friend caught 3 without heads. would it be mink?

  • #2
    Most likely it is hawks or owls if they are out in the open. If they are trapped in dens, it is most likely mink.

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    • #3
      Mink.

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      • #4
        owl or hawk

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        • #5
          I have had mink eat the heads off of muskrats.

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          • #6
            Good mink! Bad 'rats!

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            • #7
              This made me think... each mink stakes out its hunting territory and will fight to the death any other mink that trespasses. Their territory is normally at least a 1/4 mile in diameter or more. One muskrat is plenty of food for one day for a mink and they will not kill more than they can eat.

              Therefore, if you are seeing multiple attacks daily in a small area, it is probably raptors (hawks, owls) or it could be a combination. Raptors don't own territory and several will hunt the same area if it is productive for them.

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              • #8
                Birds are head and brain pickers, mink will dine on the blood first then return for the meat later!

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                • #9
                  I don't think it's mink (too small), I doubt owl because they tend to concentrate on prey that they can eat whole, and raptor doesn't sound quite right either. Ripping a head off requires a pretty good bite. I'm thinking along the lines of a) fisher b) raccoon c) fox d) bobcat e) domestic cat f) small domestic dog...I could be wrong, but just some ideas to ponder. Look for critter tracks in the area when you get a good snow.

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                  • #10
                    sounds like the work of el chupacabra...

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                    • #11
                      YOu did not post where the muskrat was located - if it was under water in a wet leg hold set, it was probably not raptors - it would almost have to be a mammal predator. However, if the rat's head was exposed to the air or at least close to the surface, then it could be a hawk/owl or, if ripped off, it might also be an eagle - I have heard of one case where an eagle was repetively attacking a beaver caught in a leg trap - the trapper had not set the slide wire correctly and the beaver could not dive (where it would have drowned) and the eagle kept sweeping down on it. If they could reach the whole muskrat, I would think that hawks or owls would have eaten the soft belly area before tackling the head unless that was all they could reach.

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                      • #12
                        I bet they were easy to catch, being head-less and all

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                        • #13
                          I bet they were easy to catch, being head-less and all

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                          • #14
                            coulda been a snappin turtle....my best guess

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