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Humane traps & avoid injury - non target wildlife

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From: R Booth
Barrington, IL
Several muskrats need to be removed from residential pond to avoid further shoreline damage. We understand that licensed trappers may remove. Our preference would be a no-kill trap and removal into the wild where they serve a useful purpose. In preparation for our consultation, your professional opinion would be appreciated.

1) Do muskrat traps pose a hazard for non target wildlife such as ducks and other water fowl or turtles?

2) Do you recommend specific trap criteria to avoid injuring non target wildlife.

Thank you for your help.

Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
The nuisance wildlife control operator should euthanize any muskrats that are trapped if they plan to use live traps to capture them. To release wildlife (including muskrats) onto another property, one must have the written permission of that landowner. I doubt there will be a landowner willing to accept the muskrats. It is illegal to release them into state parks, natural areas, or parks. Those areas with suitable habitat already have populations of muskrats.

Muskrats are best trapped in their runs under the water. This prevents accidental take of non-target species. The traps normally used to trap muskrats include the No. 110 ConibearĀ® traps or No. 1, 1Ā½, or 2 leghold traps.

Another option is habitat modification. Depending on what sort of damage the muskrats are causing, an Illinois Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist may be able to give you suggestions on ways to both protect the shoreline and provide habitat for the muskrats. In Lake County your contact would be: Stefanie Fitzsimons (815) 675-2386 ext. 215

In Cook County your contacts would be: Joe Rogus/ Bob Massey (815) 476-2523

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