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Had to re-post this due to some system error.... An article in Ohio Outdoor News stated the ODNR is asking for muskrat carcasses

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  • Had to re-post this due to some system error.... An article in Ohio Outdoor News stated the ODNR is asking for muskrat carcasses

    Had to re-post this due to some system error.... An article in Ohio Outdoor News stated the ODNR is asking for muskrat carcasses to try and determine why the population has plummeted in creeks and streams in the midwest. The drainage ditches in my area used to be loaded with them, now there's none to be found. In ponds and swampy areas they are doing fine. My guess is the pesticide and fertilizer runoff is causing the problem. Any ideas from you folks

  • #2
    Kenton, muskrats can be infected with the bacterial disease Tularemia, which is transmitted by ticks and biting flies as well as contaminated water.

    Another muskrat disease is Giardia.
    Because muskrats defecate in water, they can be one of several vectors (transmitters) of a flu-like infection called giardiasis, more commonly referred to as giardia, derived from giardia, the single-cell protozoan that causes the disease. Giardia has been found in many animal species, including pets, other wildlife, and livestock. It is one of the most common water-born pathogens in fresh water. It's main source is fecal material from birds and animals, as well as humans. Never drink untreated water from any source in the wild.
    Individuals handling a dead or live muskrat should wear rubber gloves and wash their hands well when finished.

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    • #3
      Don't know about Ohio, but several in my pond have expired due to acute lead poisoning.

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      • #4
        Kenton, I agree with your take on pesticides and fertilizer runoff being a problem but not in this case. Muskrats like every other living creatures wants to make it's living as easy as possible. With this in mind all the housing developments, businesses, etc... that have been built and being built are contributing to the muskrat loss in what we would like to think of as the wild. Whenever a housing development goes up or a large business they must create detention and retention ponds which attract them for one because it's easy living for them and another readily available food. It has little to do with habitat loss or disease and more to do with the "American Dream" lets face it these rodents made like George Jefferson and left the hard life of the wild. If you want to trap or see these little rodents look no further than out your front door whether it be at your place of employment or your neighborhood retention pond!

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        • #5
          If there is a good supply of cattails and no muskrats you have a problem. If the stream or ditch is relatively clean and without cattails, the rats are not going to be in that habitat. Do a plant inventory before blaming anything else.

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          • #6
            I agree with labrador12. Habitat may be the cause. Muskrats prefer the sanctuary of big ponds with abundant food supply and open water for protection. They inhabit smaller creeks, streams and ditches during tough times but if you have lots of rainfall and larger swamps are full of cat tails, they will head for them.

            If the population of muskrats is down across all habitat, then you might have a problem. I've always noticed that muskrat population goes up and down in direct proportion to good habitat. I've had times when I could take 1,500 muskrats a week off of big swamps and couldn't find one on a smaller stream or creek.

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            • #7
              Ah dunno, exactly.

              Butt there's not as many here as there youstaby.

              www.fieldandstream.com/photos/trophyroom/recent/single?pnid=1001500492#1001500492

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              • #8
                The problem according to the DNR article is confined to creek and streams in the midwest. When I was a kid we pulled rats from the creek on our farm every year. My son trapped the same area in the late 80's and 90's with good results. I moved back to my home place in 2009 and noticed all the rats are gone. Wasn't until I saw the article did I realize it was a wide spread problem.

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                • #9
                  This is a copy of the article from the Marion Star Newspaper.........

                  Grey fox and muskrat populations have declined significantly in Ohio.

                  Grey fox have completely disappeared in many parts of the state and brushy habitats that once held good populations of these small foxes have often produced nothing on traplines for several years in a row.

                  The decline of muskrats has been witnessed first-hand in counties like Wood, whose ditches and shallow streams used to produce dozens of muskrats on many traplines. Now most of them are devoid of muskrats altogether.

                  The decline of muskrats particularly is not limited to Ohio. In neighboring states muskrat harvests have fallen from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands per season. What’s causing the problem? No one knows, but Suzie Prange, fur bearer research biologist with the Division of Wildlife is asking that trappers supply her with muskrat and grey fox carcasses for study.

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                  • #10
                    A shortage of muskrats is not necessarily a bad thing. Varmints

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                    • #11
                      Whut CJ said.

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                      • #12
                        As corn prices rise, field drainage becomes more important. Cleaning out the ditches and removing the cattail blockages is a common effort to get machinery on the fields earlier and to keep the water off and allow the combines on the fields to harvest in the fall. A big four wheel drive combine can handle some bad conditions, but bad conditions cause extra wear and tear on extremely expensive equipment. Brushy streams are wildlife magnets. If the upstream habitat has been purged of rats, and the brush and cattails, they won't be migrating down to your place Kenton.

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                        • #13
                          I think it may have to do with the coyote population, plus the environmental and habitat factors.

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