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How to Get Rid of Muskrats

how to get rid of muskrats

As a trapper, I’ve used my fair share of muskrat traps. And over the years, I’ve come to find certain traps work better than others. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my top 3 picks for the best muskrat trap products on the market. Let’s get started!

Top 3 Best Muskrat Trap Products in 2024 Comparison Chart

Our #1 Rated
Tomahawk Rigid Extra Long Muskrat Colony Trap review
Tomahawk Rigid Extra Long Muskrat Colony Trap
  • Type: Live Trap
  • Size: 36″ x 6″ x 6″
  • Mesh: 1″ x 1″
  • Material: 14-Gauge Galvanized Steel

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People's Choice
Safeguard Rear Release Live Cage Trap review
Safeguard Rear Release Live Cage Trap
  • Type: Live Trap
  • Size: 18″ x 5″ x 5″
  • Mesh: 1″ x 1/2″
  • Material: 16-Gauge Galfan Wire

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Ouell RM Outdoor Muskrat Trap review
Ouell RM Outdoor Muskrat Trap
  • Type: Lethal Trap
  • Size: 11″ x 5.5″ x 4″
  • Material: Alloy Steel

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Muskrats are a nuisance and can cause damage to your property.

They’re also not afraid of humans, so they’ll come right up to you if you’re near the water. And because they live in groups, one or two muskrats might be enough to start an infestation on your property.

The best way to get rid of them is with traps – but which ones? There are many different types, each with its own pros and cons. Here’s what we recommend for homeowners who want the most humane trap possible (without sacrificing effectiveness):

3 Best Muskrat Traps Reviewed

My own research indicates that some products stand out more than others. And the winner is Tomahawk Rigid Muskrat Colony Trap.

1. Tomahawk Rigid Muskrat Colony Trap – The Most Effective Muskrat Trap on the Market (Editor’s Choice)

Tomahawk Muskrat Colony Trap is a 36″ extra long wire mesh trap that can catch up to 10 muskrats. This item is designed to be used in the water and on land, has two gravity-operated trap doors, and comes with 1″ x 1″ wire mesh frames.

It catches muskrats of all sizes, swimming or walking along the shoreline. You’ll also find this product easy to bait because it’s made of 14 gauge galvanized steel and has dimensions of 36″L x 6″W x 6″H.

How to Use

  • The Tomahawk Colony Trap is an easy-to-use trap that can be set in one spot and left for muskrats to enter.
  • This trap is made of galvanized steel wire with a rust-resistant finish for durability.

  • It can catch multiple muskrats at a time and is simple to bait with apples, carrots, or peanut butter.
  • To use, place the trap in their usual path or front of the muskrat den so they can be trapped when they attempt to leave the den.

  • Made of 14-gauge galvanized steel wire with rust-resistant finish.
  • Catching muskrats has never been easier.
  • Catch up to 10 muskrats in a single trap with this 36″ extra long wire mesh trap.
  • The trap doors are gravity operated, which can be tricky if the muskrats are swimming.
  • The trap is not adjustable, so it might be too large or small for certain muskrats.

2. Safeguard Rear Release Cage Trap – Easy to Set and Release Live Muskrat Trap (People’s Choice)

Safeguard Cage Trap is a go-to trap. It’s made in the USA with 16 Gauge Galfan wire, so it’s tough and durable. The heavy-duty reinforced spring-loaded door is super reliable, and the mesh size is perfect for catching muskrats.

The best part? It’s a rear release, so you don’t have to worry about getting your hands dirty.

  • Mesh size is perfect for catching muskrats.
  • Easy to set up and use, so you can spend less time struggling with tech tools!
  • Rear release.
  • Muskrats can sometimes wriggle free.
  • The trap must be checked often to ensure that muskrats are caught.
  • May require bait, which could attract other pests.

3. Ouell RM Outdoor Muskrat Trap

The Ouell RM Trap is a top-of-the-line product that will help you catch those pesky muskrats. It is made with high-quality materials and has a sensitive trigger, making it easy to set and highly effective. The integrated safety catch ensures that the trap is safe to handle, even when armed.

How to Use

  1. Set the trap in an area where you have seen muskrats. The trap should be near the water’s edge, where muskrats are likely to be found.
  2. Bait the trap with something that will attract the muskrats, such as apples, celery, or corn.
  3. Set the trap by flipping it over, facing down the open end. Pull back on the green tab to release the trigger and then replace the tab.
  4. Check the trap regularly to see if it has caught any muskrats. If it has, carefully releases them and reset the trap.
  • Highly effective.
  • Easy to set.
  • Safe to handle.
  • It can be difficult to set the trap properly.
  • The bait may not be effective.

What is the Best Muskrat Trap in 2024? – Your Expert Buyer’s Guide

Have a pond or lake? Then your property can be a prime target for muskrats’ invasion. There are many ways to prevent a muskrat problem. The best way to crack the rodent problem is to eliminate muskrats before they can cause damage.

It’s essential to consider all aspects of the muskrat’s control. But the most effective way to eliminate destructive rodents is trapping. Though many people find muskrat trapping a challenge – as these creatures spend a lot of time in the water – you can trap them successfully with our special tips. Below we provide smart info to help you successfully catch destructive muskrats.

Muskrat Habitat

Muskrats habitatBeing semi-aquatic, muskrats spend a great amount of time in lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. They feed on vegetation, and the stems of aquatic plants. They also use plants for building river banks and dens.

Although muskrats are generally vegetarians, they can eat salamanders, mussels, newts, crayfish, frogs, and fish.


Muskrats damageMuskrats can quickly reproduce. They are very destructive and can commit damage your garden. Being vegetarian, this rodent will quickly discover the best plants on your property and eat them during the night.

What’s more, muskrats are well-known for their destructive burrowing in dams, ponds, and streams. Their burrows can lead to huge problems, including leaks, runoff, and unwanted flooding.

Muskrat tracks, feeding platforms, droppings on elevated surfaces, burrow entrances, collapsed banks, and leaking ponds are signs of a muskrats’ presence.

5 Steps Guide on How to Trap Muskrats

Muskrats are unique, wild aquatic rodents – about two ft. long – named for their rat-like appearance and musky smell.

Do you think it’s challenging to trap rat-like creatures, as they spend a significant amount of time in the water?

Here is how to successfully catch these pesky rodents:

  1. Choose the Best Muskrat Trap
    Step 1: Choose the Best Muskrat TrapPurchase the trap that is at least thirty/forty inches in length. You can buy one or two door models. Note, each model has its own advantages:

    • One door traps give better bait protection.
    • Two door muskrat traps can be set with 1 or two doors open.

    What’s more, the ability to see through the door calms cautious muskrats.

  2. Find Out Where to Place the Trap
    Step 2: Find Out Where to Place the TrapWe suggest placing it:

    • Along a muskrat run – under water paths used by pesky muskrats when they travel to their feeding platforms or dens.
    • Outside of a burrow entrance – A typical burrow entrance most often located in an outside wall of the waterway.
  3. Bait the Trap
    Step 3: Bait the TrapIt’s essential to bait the trap properly to force the rodent to engage the trigger.

    • If you use 1 door trap, you are to put the bait at the end of the trap.
    • Those who use two-door traps must position the bait, like carrots, at the trap's center.
  4. Check Your Trap Regularly
    Step 4: Check Your Trap RegularlyIt’s essential to monitor the trap. Do it often. Note that muskrats can quickly become hungry or anxious.

    Never leave the cage unattended for a long period of time.

  5. Relocate the Captured Muskrat
    Step 5: Relocate the Captured MuskratAfter trapping the animal, wear gloves to avoid any contact with it. Drape a cloth over the muskrat trap to calm the rodent during transport.

    Relocate pesky creatures to another habitable area 5-6 miles from your property.

Live and Lethal Muskrat Traps

If you use the right trap, trapping is one of the most effective muskrat control options. There are two types of traps that you can use for muskrats – live and lethal. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the right trap for the situation is important.

Lethal traps kill the animal quickly and humanely, while live traps capture the animal alive.

  • Lethal muskrat traps are generally more effective, but they also have a higher potential to cause injury or death to other animals who may stumble upon them.

  • Live muskrat traps are safer for other animals, but they may not be as effective in capturing the target muskrat.

Live traps we discussed above. So, here we will consider a variety of lethal muskrat traps that will help you crack your muskrat problem.

Leg Hold Traps’ Effectiveness

Leg Hold TrapWhen it comes to leg hold traps for muddy muskrats, #1 long spring leg hold is the best option. But you can effectively use just about any of these traps for ‘rats. They all will work whether you use a long spring, coil spring, or jump trap.

Long spring traps catch muskrats by their legs and come in several sizes.

Where to use them: Entranceways to burrows, known tunnels, and pathways muskrats are active.

Body Grip Traps

Body Grip 110These traps also known as Coni-bear consist of 2 square jaws. When the animal passes through the trap, the jaws close around its body killing it quickly.

What to purchase: Body Grip 110 is trappers’ traditional body crashing trap. Unlike the coil trap, this square heavy steel trap is actually a kill trap.

  • Body Grip traps are compact and inexpensive. These traps work well in spring sets.
  • The triggers can break off after some time.

Muskrat Trap Sets

Set your muskrat traps according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For an easy one-step setup, buy Easy Set traps. After the trap is set, ensure there is no debris under the trigger pan. If you place the trap on top of a bank, secure it to the surface to prevent the trap from falling into the water.

There are a huge number of sets to catch a bothersome muskrat. But the most popular are the following:

  • Spring Run setSpring Run Set – location where a small stream enters a bigger body of water. Small runs are usually one of the best areas to make a set. You can effectively set a muskrat foothold trap in this location. When making this set, there is a possibility to trap even a raccoon, so bear this in mind when choosing a trap.
  • Muskrat Runway SetMuskrat Runway Set – used to catch destructive muskrats when these creatures make several trips in the same location. There are two options that can be effectively used to set a trap on a runway. They are: Colony and Body-grip traps. To determine the muskrat run you are to look for a path in shallow water.
  • Muskrat slide setMuskrat Slide Set – also known as “climb out set” – is a location where pesky muskrats climb out of the water making distinctive slides. It’s very easy to find these slides and construct the trap there. Use foothold traps which you can place in the middle of the muskrat path.

The Best Muskrat Bait Options

The best baits fot muskratsMuskrats give preference to a plant-based diet – fruits, stems, roots and leaves of aquatic vegetation. They also feed on small animals – insects, amphibians, and fish – when vegetation is scarce.

Muskrats feed at all times of the day.

Although muskrats are known as omnivores, these rodents have a strong preference for plants.

The best bait for muskrats to lure into your trap are:

  • Apples,
  • Carrots,

  • Parsnips,
  • Oil of anise.

Baiting Tips:

  • To give a muskrat a taste of what is inside the trap, create a bait trail that will lead to the trap.

  • Position the bait – like parsnips – far from the walls of the muskrat trap to keep a pesky muskrat from being able to steal some tasty bait from the outside.

  • Never use pet food for bait and avoid baits that can attract cats or dogs.

How to Catch a Muskrat: Trapping Tips

  • Tip 1
    Do you know that muskrats’ territory can extend as much as two hundred ft. in diameter? Usually, the territory contains multiple muskrat burrow entrances and feeding platforms. For a more timely catch, we suggest using multiple traps in different areas simultaneously.
  • Tip 2
    Place your muskrat trap on a level surface in order for the closure mechanism to work in a good way.

  • Tip 3
    If you have a large population to control, use the Colony trap. It would help if you placed this cage-type trap in muskrat runs – which you can find in rivers, feeder streams, or along shorelines of lakes or ponds. If the set is underwater, the trap will kill trapped muskrats. However, muskrats can be trapped alive if you locate a run in shallow water and make the proper set of your trap when less than half of it is under the water line.

Muskrats can become quite a nuisance. Remove unwanted muskrats with special traps. Choose the profitable trap for you and use our trapping tips to get the job done.


If you’re a homeowner with a muskrat problem, I hope one of the three traps above will work for you. I have used all of them at some point in my career as an animal trapper and can attest to their efficacy. It is important to set the traps properly and use good bait to increase your chances of catching pesky rodents.

If you are still having trouble after trying these traps, please contact your local pest control company for assistance.