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Is there anything I can do to prevent animals from chewing my fountain power cord? | Ponds & Lakes Q&A

Is there anything I can do to prevent animals from chewing my fountain power cord?

Q: Is there anything I can do to prevent animals from chewing my fountain power cord?

Barbara – Little Falls, NJ

A: Surprise, surprise! You’re doing your winter-prep chores and, lo and behold, you discover that a tiny interloper has been gnawing at your fountain’s power cord. Just about aquatic or semi-aquatic animal that can chew or break something open with its mouth could be the culprit—but most likely, your cord chewer is none other than the muskrat.

Muskrat Love

Muskrats, semi-aquatic rodents that are native to North America, live in wetlands over a wide range of climates and habitats (including your pond or lake). They measure 16 to 28 inches long—with almost half of that being their flattened, scale-covered tail—and weigh between 1½ to 4½ pounds. They’re double-coated in short, thick, medium to dark brown or black fur that insulates them from chilly water.

These furry little critters love to spend time submerged. Because they are less sensitive to carbon dioxide buildup that other mammals, they can stay under water for 12 to 17 minutes before they need to come up for air—giving them plenty of time to do damage to your power cords.

Born to Chew

As rodents, muskets must chew and gnaw on things to wear down their continuously growing incisors. In wild lakes and water bodies, they grind on cattails and other aquatic vegetation, along with the occasional crayfish, turtle and frog for sustenance.

In human-made lakes and ponds, however, muskrats also chew on cords, preferring the parts near a fountain’s motor or where it exits the pond. No one knows why muskrats like to sink their teeth into electrical cords, but they do. So what do you do?

Wrap It Up

To prevent muskrats and other water-dwelling chewers from damaging your fountain’s power cord, invest in some power cord wrapping (also called rat cord). This woven material limits or prevents animals from chewing through the cord’s plastic sheathing.

Now, while your fountain is pulled out of your lake or pond for the winter season, is the perfect time of year to cover your power cord in this protective material. A little maintenance and prevention will go a long way to stop those interlopers from damaging your equipment.

Pond Talk: What do you do to prevent muskrats and other semi-aquatic critters from moving into your pond or lake?

Remove Unwanted Guests - Tomahawk Live Traps

I have muskrats, what do I do? – Pond & Lake Q & A

I have muskrats, what do I do?

I have muskrats, what do I do? Geoff – Star Junction, PA

Rats!

When people tell you that digging a farm pond will coax Mother Nature into your backyard you can’t help but get glassy eyed and daydream of giant bucks wandering by to drink from the pond and cute rabbits frolicking by the water’s edge. Now that the pond is in place it seems as if Mother Nature gave you the old “Bait and Switch” as you trip over collapsed trenches in your yard and patch leaky dams caused by muskrats.

Muskrats, at times, can actually be a cool addition to your pond. They will eat some of the weeds that grow around your pond and it is fun to watch them sunbathe and swim around in your pond. However, if it seems like you are spending more time fixing your pond after they wreak havoc on fountain and pump power cords or collapse the perimeter of your pond, then it is time to ask them to move on.

Sometimes ridding your pond of muskrats is a simple as disrupting or removing their habitat. Running an Aeration System in the pond will create a subtle wake that muskrats sometimes find annoying. One of the benefits of aeration is that is also helps reduce and prevent weed growth. If you go around and treat the weeds in your pond this season you will successfully remove some of their habitat and your aeration will help prevent it from growing back next season. There are many tools available to aid in your quest for a weed free pond that range from Aquatic Algaecides and Herbicides, to Lake Rakes and Weed Razers. When possible, fill in or collapse any holes they dig as this can deter them from sticking around as well.

If your resident muskrats are not to keen on picking up subtle hints, then it’s time to get physical. Purchase a Muskrat Trap or two, place them near their tunnels with some bait (apples work well) and wait for them to investigate. Once you have them under lock and key it is time to take them for a long trip to relocate them to a distant pond or lake.

For more information on ridding your pond of muskrats and a couple extra cool facts read back to our previous Blog on the topic.

POND TALK: Do you enjoy seeing muskrats in your pond? If not how did you get them to call someone else’s pond home?

Get rid of muskrats fast!

How Do I Get Rid of Muskrats? – Pond & Lake Q & A

Picture of a Muskrat

Q: How do I get rid of muskrats? They keep creating tunnels in the sides of our pond.
- Several Customers

A: Muskrats can be a huge annoyance when it comes to having a farm pond. A muskrat can lower the water level by building a tunnel from the side of the pond to a nearby ditch or by opening up veins underneath a clay base. Also, attached to this tunnel is a den for the family of muskrats which can cause unstable ground in those areas. So how do you get rid of these things? Well, there are a couple of different techniques.

1) Disrupt Their Diet: A muskrat eats aquatic vegetation like cattails, sedges, rushes, water lilies and pond weeds. In some areas it may also eat clams, mussels, snails, crayfish, small fish and frogs. Keeping your pond clear of excess vegetation such as cattails, grasses, rushes, etc will disrupt a muskrat’s diet. The best way to rid your pond of these emergent plants is to use Shoreline Defense® & Treatment Booster™ PLUS. Simply mix the two products together in a pond sprayer and spray directly on the target plants. Allow 1-2 weeks for complete control. When the plants are dead (they will turn brown) remove them with the Pond Rake & Cutter. Dead vegetation makes a great nesting area, so be sure to remove it!

2) Disrupt Their Environment: Muskrats prefer ponds with four to six feet of still or slow-moving water. Although adding depth to pond may not be a simple option, but adding an Aeration System is. An Aeration System will not only provide the circulation needed to deter muskrats but will help to disrupt their diet by reducing weed growth as well.

Muskrat Facts: The muskrat is a very good swimmer. Muskrats can stay underwater for as long as 15 minutes. In the southern states they may breed year-round. In the northern states the mating season runs from March through August. Muskrats have up to five litters a year, giving birth to up to nine young each time! The average lifespan of a muskrat in the wild is three or four years.

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