Just about any trap made can be used to get muskrats. Many are much more effective than others. The 110 conibear, #1 stoploss, and the 1.5 coil are in my opinion, the best for rats. Where legal colony traps can be a real bonus for the trapper.
The 110 can be used to cover the entrances to the underwater huts or burrows that they use. They can also be placed in rat runs with good results. As you are walking down the creek, those underwater holes that you may sometimes see are probably rat den entrances. As far as the above water huts, They are not real common in most of my areas because they can use the banks to den in and it is believed that the bank dens are more secure for the rats. The lodges are usually found where the banks are relitively low or of a type that is not real great for digging. They are made out of whatever the rat can get it's grubby little paws on, it could be cattails, rushes, corn stalks, trash, and just about anything you can imagine.
The rat is a small rodent which is (on my line) about 3-5 lbs and about a foot long with a long vertically flat scally tail of slightly less in length. I have some big rats on my line for some reason.
Many of the rats that I get are caught as incidentals in **** sets. They will eat the same things that a **** will. They have been seenpiling clam shells on sandbars that they have eaten. One of the baits that has worked well for me on them is believe it or not, muskrat chunks.
As far as where they come out of the water, If there is a above water hut, there should be a trail coming out of the water onto the top. On the stream bank they will make little dugouts under overhanging brush and grass. These are what are known as feedbeds. If you set a trap on the approach(s) to these you should get them.
One thing that is very inportant to remember: in the rat marshes, just because you see the bottom 2 feet down DOES NOT mean that there is not 6 feet of loon crap.
One more thing, ALWAYS try to drown all rats you catch.
I am getting tired of typing, so someone else can take over from here and agree or disagree with me.
I'll add a little more .
If you have culverts and bridges , these are "funnels" that rats travel through . I like using 1 1/2 longsprings (something Mallard showed me) with the trap about 1-1 1/2 inches under water . The loose kaw should be against the wall and the spring turned outward so the jaws lay flat . Anchor to a big rock or something heavy in at least a foot of water .You can pile rock up to get the trap to the depth you need . You will also pick up mink and the accasional **** in this set . But be carefull , this is also a good spot for theft .
When walking around a pond or lake , you will see holes in the bottom anywhere from a foot to ten feet from shore . These are usually rats . Most times , whits sand will be present , otr lack of silt will prove these dens active . Set a #110 in the entrance of these dens . The best eway I have found is to take a lathe , or strip of wood 1 1/2 inches wide and about 3/8 in. thick and run it through the spring of the trap , turn it till it wedges , and push into the bottom .A colony trap is good here also if legal .
When the first snow comes , rat houses will stick out like a sore thumb . Scan the lakeshore and you will see white humps , these are huts . You will see what I mean when it snows . These huts will have dugout trails or holes underwater leading into the hut . Set same as you would a bankden .
Foxtail is right , always set up with drowners . I am yet to catch a rat in a foothold without a drowner , that didnt twist out .
As far as where they come out of the water , the only places I found it obvious was in cattail stands , at some culverts , and near apple or other food trees near the waters edge . You will see their trails . About 5 inches wide .
Hope this is of some help to ya , if not ask again .
I sure can't help you much on rat trapping since I have always been a "dry lander". The few rats I have taken over the years were more "incidental" than anything.
However, I have caught a few.
Since the animal is a Rodent of the Muridae family (this includes over 1,100 species of rats, mice, hampsters, gerbils, etc.) his diet can vary from mainly vegetation up to and including small vertebrates. His MAIN diet is vegetation.
Essential oils such as Ambrette, Carrot oil, Sweetflag, Pennyroyal, and others are used in formulation of muskrat lures. Oils such as Shellfish, Muscaro, Lavender, and others can be used as a straight lure. There are many commercial muskrat lures on the market that are excellent Muskrat lures.
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