Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) interference with aquatic invertebrate traps
Keywords:Muskrat, Ondatra zibethicus, aquatic insect emergence traps, destructive behaviour, prairie wetlands, leaf litter bags
AbstractIn field biology, interactions between wildlife and in situ equipment occur often. These interactions have the potential to induce a variety of behaviours in local fauna. Here, we note the destructive behaviour exhibited by the Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) following deployment of aquatic invertebrate traps for research purposes at 12 wetlands located in central Saskatchewan. Of 24 aquatic insect emergence traps used on seven wetlands in our study, 14 (58%) required recurring repairs. In addition, on several occasions, leaf litter bags and their anchoring stakes were torn or chewed. The recurring damage took place in wetlands with Muskrat lodges. We recommend structural modifications to aquatic invertebrate traps in wetland complexes densely inhabited by Muskrats and other semi-aquatic rodents.
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