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Old 07-07-2016, 06:34 PM   #1
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Default Rat or Otter???

I think I saw a rat swimming by the dock. I researched pictures of both rats swimming and otters swimming, and this creature definitely was a rat. Long tail and skinny face. I'm not happy about this. What is a rat's predator?
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:38 PM   #2
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Are you sure it wasn't a muskrat?
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:01 PM   #3
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I just looked at pictures of muskrats and maybe it was a muskrat. Looked a lot like it. I'm still not happy--muskrat has the word rat in it!!
Now I'm afraid to go into the lake. I wonder if they bite.
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Old 07-07-2016, 09:38 PM   #4
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Better a muskrat than a musk ox...
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Old 07-07-2016, 10:27 PM   #5
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Muskrats eat mostly the aquatic vegetation that can obstruct some boating and swimming areas. They also eat snails that can otherwise be disease vectors. They're part of the natural environment of the lakes region . . . enjoy them.
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Old 07-08-2016, 07:51 AM   #6
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I don't worry at all about the muskrats. We have them under a banking just beside our beach. They just had babies and it is so cute to watch the babies come out from under the tunnels. The parents have been busily carrying the foliage to their home all along. When they see us, they move away. Enjoy them. I would love to be able to see their home!!

The only thing I don't like about them is somebody ate my forsythia right down to the ground and we believe it was the muskrats. It was too rough a cut for a beaver.
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Old 07-08-2016, 07:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by aquabones View Post
I think I saw a rat swimming by the dock. I researched pictures of both rats swimming and otters swimming, and this creature definitely was a rat. Long tail and skinny face. I'm not happy about this. What is a rat's predator?
Could have been a mink.
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Old 07-08-2016, 08:40 AM   #8
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I just looked at pictures of muskrats and maybe it was a muskrat. Looked a lot like it. I'm still not happy--muskrat has the word rat in it!!
Now I'm afraid to go into the lake. I wonder if they bite.
aquabones - there is no need for concern if it is a Muskrat ...... as with the numerous fish in the lake, they are more afraid of YOU than you are of them and will steer clear of you accordingly


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Old 07-08-2016, 10:17 AM   #9
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aquabones - there is no need for concern if it is a Muskrat ...... as with the numerous fish in the lake, they are more afraid of YOU than you are of them and will steer clear of you accordingly


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Beg to differ on the fish. Rock bass nibble on toes.
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Old 07-08-2016, 09:01 PM   #10
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The only thing I don't like about them is somebody ate my forsythia right down to the ground and we believe it was the muskrats. It was too rough a cut for a beaver.
Hungry deer will eat a forsythia too, if there are a lot of them in the area. They've ate quite a bit of my flowers and the neighbors bushes. I plant extra for them . . . I'm a big softie.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:52 AM   #11
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Hungry deer will eat a forsythia too, if there are a lot of them in the area. They've ate quite a bit of my flowers and the neighbors bushes. I plant extra for them . . . I'm a big softie.
Can they eat down big stems?
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:18 PM   #12
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Can they eat down big stems?
Deer would eat the tips and buds and they will strip some evergreens in winter...they will eat hosta right to ground level. Think the tops of trees and the tender branches...it's called "browse"
When starving in winter they will most likely eat anything they can reach, often times their wintering areas or "yards" the flora will look like it's been trimmed back above head level.
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:42 AM   #13
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The stems on this were about the size of two fingers and they ate them right to the ground. They chewed them down right to the ground almost, but it was a very rough cut. Could deer do that? I have had deer eat my shrubs, hostas and even foxglove but never these before if it was them who ate them.
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Old 07-10-2016, 08:47 AM   #14
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Smile Big Chewing=Hungry Deer...

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Muskrats eat mostly the aquatic vegetation that can obstruct some boating and swimming areas. They also eat snails that can otherwise be disease vectors. They're part of the natural environment of the lakes region . . . enjoy them.
An "old thread" appears here:

http://www.winnipesaukee.com/forums/...ead.php?t=7613


Quote:
I'd always suspected muskrats were around Lake Winnipesaukee, but I didn't expect to hear them, much less have them swimming around my dock while I was attending to my boats!

The two swam around me for about an hour—nose-to-tail in 10-foot circles: One was persistently "mewing" to the other. Sometimes the muskrat in front would turn around and snap at the muskrat following...and sometimes, er...ah...er...ahem...she wouldn't!

It was very still, warm, sunny and quiet out yesterday, so the mewing could be heard for 100 yards or so—even heard a ruffed grouse at a ¾-mile distance for the first time in many years!

They "hauled out" on a log briefly, but I noticed that they can swim underwater at a depth of about three feet—and very quickly.

While they could be mistaken for beaver pups, this file photo is exactly what I saw from only a few feet away: Note the round tail.




Yes, I can now see where the lyrics come from..."And they whirled and they twirled and they tangoed..."Singin' and jingin' the jango..."

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Old 07-10-2016, 09:01 AM   #15
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Very unlikely that it was a rat. Baby otter, muskrat or mink. Even a small beaver would have the same appearance while swimming.
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Old 07-10-2016, 09:29 AM   #16
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The stems on this were about the size of two fingers and they ate them right to the ground. They chewed them down right to the ground almost, but it was a very rough cut. Could deer do that? I have had deer eat my shrubs, hostas and even foxglove but never these before if it was them who ate them.
Not likely to be a deer that can chew a "2 finger" sized branch but stranger things have happened. I would think a wayward beaver may have chewed them. Was there a pointed stub on them? Beavers will take these types of shrubs and stockpile them under the water near their lodge for winter forage.
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Old 07-10-2016, 11:06 AM   #17
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by the dock.
Probably a Muskrat if it was around your dock. Without knowing what part of the lake you are on and what the bottom of lake is like where you are located it could be something else. If you are in an area where there are lots of mussels nearby they often use docks as a feeding platforms if the dock has the right construction features for them to rest and feed at the same time. They will also often use the swim platform too, if it's close to the water line and or lower unit / outdrive on a boat if on the same dock.

Can't say for sure what you have swimming around your dock but if you have lots of broken up mussel shells around the end of your dock, under the lower unit / outdrive or swim platform. Then you probably have a Muskrat. They eat lots of other things that leave less evidence, but the broken up mussel shells is a dead give away. I see them often when fishing very early in the morning when the sun is just about to come up.

As mentioned probably much much more afraid of you.

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What is a rat's predator?
One of them is Largemouth Bass, big ones.

Last edited by Top-Water; 07-10-2016 at 11:22 AM. Reason: word spacing
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Old 07-10-2016, 11:17 AM   #18
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Accidental double post.
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Old 07-10-2016, 04:37 PM   #19
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FRIED MUSKRAT
1 young muskrat
1 egg
3/4 c. milk
1 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. fat
1 tbsp. water
Cut muskrat into serving size pieces and soak 8-10 hours in cold salt water (1 tablespoon salt to 1 quart water). Parboil 15-20 minutes, drain and wipe dry with damp cloth.
Combine egg, milk, salt, and flour to make a smooth batter. Dip meat in batter and drop into hot fat and brown on all sides. Add water to skillet. When brown, reduce heat, cover and cook slowly until tender (about 1 1/2 hours).
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Old 07-11-2016, 05:38 AM   #20
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Probably a Muskrat if it was around your dock. Without knowing what part of the lake you are on and what the bottom of lake is like where you are located it could be something else. If you are in an area where there are lots of mussels nearby they often use docks as a feeding platforms if the dock has the right construction features for them to rest and feed at the same time. They will also often use the swim platform too, if it's close to the water line and or lower unit / outdrive on a boat if on the same dock.

Can't say for sure what you have swimming around your dock but if you have lots of broken up mussel shells around the end of your dock, under the lower unit / outdrive or swim platform. Then you probably have a Muskrat. They eat lots of other things that leave less evidence, but the broken up mussel shells is a dead give away. I see them often when fishing very early in the morning when the sun is just about to come up.

As mentioned probably much much more afraid of you.


One of them is Largemouth Bass, big ones.
So rats would have to be swimming around for the bass to eat them?

We're up near Center Harbor in Meredith. I haven't seen any mussels in the area.
Whatever creature it was, was swimming around in the open water and by the time I got to the end of the dock, he was gone until he appeared next to the dock.
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:24 AM   #21
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Default Furry Friends

On East Bear Island, we have a resident mink family that has been in our breakwater for many years. We have seen muskrats swimming across Smith Cove on our way into Fay's Boat Yard.
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:57 AM   #22
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Post Winter's Dock Circulators Keep Mink Fed All Year...

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On East Bear Island, we have a resident mink family that has been in our breakwater for many years. We have seen muskrats swimming across Smith Cove on our way into Fay's Boat Yard.
We have a mink-Mom with six pups this season.

Our shoreline's bottom is littered with opened mussel shells and collected "up" on cross beams of the dock—where they dine. A glance at those mussel shells shows that mink use their teeth to break open a corner, and then pry the shells apart.

I won't say that mink are shy, but I've had them run behind my back as we shared the same 10-inch-wide wooden plank.

The muskrats I've seen here are much smaller than mink.

I watched as the mink-Mom made several trips out from the end of our dock, bringing back a fresh mussel to eat. Had it been a sunny day, the enlarged photo below would have been sharper, but here it is, anyway.
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Old 07-11-2016, 11:00 AM   #23
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Actually, I believe they are fresh water clams. I have piles of shells next to my dock from a resident mink.
They look exactly like a salt water clam but don't think I'd eat one.
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Old 07-11-2016, 11:25 AM   #24
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The Winni "clams" are fresh water mussels. Our young guests dive for the empty shells and leave them on our dock.
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Old 07-11-2016, 12:21 PM   #25
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The mink are longer than the muskrats. Our mink runs along the shore and sometimes this year, the house with something in it's mouth. I don't know if it is feeding babies. If so, we haven't seen them yet.
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:37 PM   #26
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Not a great picture but can you see where they chewed?

Last edited by tis; 03-08-2017 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 07-11-2016, 02:45 PM   #27
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Not a great picture but can you see where they chewed?
Looks like beaver chewings...you can see where their chisel teeth went to work...almost 100% positive it's a beaver.
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Old 07-11-2016, 03:29 PM   #28
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That was my first thought, but I was told the beaver have such sharp teeth that they make a cleaner cut than that. I don't know.... Haven't seen any beaver around here lately, only the muskrats and mink.
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:18 PM   #29
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That is exactly what a beaver does, they make a little spear on each stem.
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:31 PM   #30
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That is exactly what a beaver does, they make a little spear on each stem.
The spear I understand. The question is don't the beaver make a very clean cut because of their sharp teeth? These were very rough.
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:42 PM   #31
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That is exactly what a beaver does, they make a little spear on each stem.
Correct, exactly what a beavers teeth would make those cuts look like. They can do that to the trunk of a tree many times the size of that larger branch in the photo.

Just asking / wondering ? are the branches that have been cut disappearing after they have been cut. The big one that you show that was cut looks like a pretty well developed branch that would have had some weight to it. If it did disappear a beaver probably took that down to feed on later.

Maybe you have more than one kind of critter hanging around your place.

A few years back our neighborhood association had to have 11 of them removed from our common property. They can be very destructive when they overpopulate a limited space.
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:11 PM   #32
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OH yes, they took the branches with them! All gone!

We have had beaver in the past, but haven't seen any recently. Have been watching the muskrats carry their branches into their den. Sometimes all you see is the bush sticking out of the water moving along. And have seen the mink more than usual this year too. He/she runs close to the house, not just along the shore as in past years.
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Old 07-14-2016, 12:28 PM   #33
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Smile Rat ?

I have had a Mink in my area for the last couple of years and he/she is only seen rarely. Not a problem for me!
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Old 07-19-2016, 09:24 AM   #34
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Wink On Mink, Mussels, Beaver, Muskrats, Dasher and Prancer...

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Looks like beaver chewings...you can see where their chisel teeth went to work...almost 100% positive it's a beaver.
Yes, most likely a beaver. (I haven't seen muskrats carrying branches, but beaver's heads, bodies—sometimes, tails—are easily seen above the water, as they carry their load of branches).

To find a local "Bank Beaver" lodge, look for piles of bark-free, sun-dried, branches on the edge of the shoreline near you.



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So rats would have to be swimming around for the bass to eat them? We're up near Center Harbor in Meredith. I haven't seen any mussels in the area. Whatever creature it was, was swimming around in the open water and by the time I got to the end of the dock, he was gone until he appeared next to the dock.
Mink can be hard to see: they're dark and not very big. What you can see, is "the evidence". Piles of pearly, but empty, mussel shells on the bottom.

Mink take a chip out of the top margin, and pry the two halves apart: note the missing margins in these two discarded shells:
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Old 08-03-2016, 10:44 PM   #35
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Arrow Pearly-side Up...

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So rats would have to be swimming around for the bass to eat them? We're up near Center Harbor in Meredith. I haven't seen any mussels in the area. Whatever creature it was, was swimming around in the open water and by the time I got to the end of the dock, he was gone until he appeared next to the dock.
You've got mink if you see piles of empty mussel shells where a piling's cross-member is present.

Our dock may hold the record!
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Old 08-04-2016, 07:39 AM   #36
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Yesterday as I was pulling out of my driving my mink was in the road! What in the world would he be wanting to eat in the road? A car coming the other way stopped to look. It WAS a very unusual sight!! I have never seen them go in the road before.
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:14 AM   #37
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We have seen a mink behind our cottage, maybe fifty yards from the lake, early in the morning. 🐻
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Old 08-04-2016, 12:31 PM   #38
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We see this mink all the time. He runs along the lake and along the house.
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:17 PM   #39
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You've got mink if you see piles of empty mussel shells where a piling's cross-member is present.

Our dock may hold the record!
We have piles of empty shells under our dock too. Does that mean they live above water under the dock and eat the mussels there? I don't understand why all the shells would be in a pile in such deep water...I thought they lived at the waters edge?
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Old 11-07-2016, 11:33 PM   #40
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Default Eat in the most comfy spot

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We have piles of empty shells under our dock too. Does that mean they live above water under the dock and eat the mussels there? I don't understand why all the shells would be in a pile in such deep water...I thought they lived at the waters edge?
I've come accross mussel shells scattered about in shallow rocky areas while fishing shallow rocky areas dozens of yards from the closest shoreline. I think they eat near where they collect the goodies. On or under a dock or in open water.
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:58 PM   #41
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I have an adorable video of otters playing on the ice. It is a mov file take by my SIL, sent to my daughter who sent it to me. I tried to upload it on here and can't. Is it because it is the mov file from the iPhone? I know there is a list of files you can upload from underneath where you choose a file. Thanks.
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Old 03-09-2017, 06:00 AM   #42
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Would love to see that clip. Maybe someone on this site can help you load it for all of us to see.
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:32 AM   #43
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https://www.winnipesaukee.com/forums...1&d=1489321874
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:34 AM   #44
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I finally got a picture attached! I am not sure how. I don't know why I have been having such a hard time. I remember it being easy before.

Anyway, these are two of the three otters my daughter captured pictures of. They have been playing on the ice for a while now. So cute to watch.
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