The muskrats are back in the canal!

I can remember being just a little squirt and my brother trapping them on the south end of the canal in between Delphos and State Road. He would check those traps every day! He’d bundle up in long johns and gloves and hat and off he’d go. He was about 14 or 15 at the time.

I talked to him Friday and he said muskrat pelts were a pretty good haul for a kid his age. The small ones would bring $7-10 and the larger ones $12-15.

It has been a long time since I’d seen a muskrat in the canal. I saw my first one in decades in 2015. He was running a trail he had burrowed on my side of the canal bank. I was brushing my teeth at the back sink one day and a movement caught my eye. When I looked up I saw the little guy running his trail.

Aw, how cute I thought. When I mentioned it to my neighbor he immediately wanted to know where I had seen it and when. Why was he so curious? Well, as it happens, these cute little guys do quite a bit of damage to the banks. They burrow under the bank and then their hole collapses and with it, the bank.

OK. This is not good but I’m still a little defensive of the furry little critter I was watching just the day before. He was cute. He was furry. My neighbor wanted to get rid of him.

My neighbor asked me to come and get him if I saw another one. So, I did the only thing I could. I told him he was on his own. The muskrat was out there and if he wanted him, he was going to have to find him himself.

Just a month ago, his wife was telling me she counted five of them on the canal. She must not have told her husband, either.

When my friend on Canal Street stopped in The Herald office on Friday and left me a message about the trails through her yard, I knew immediately what it was. Muskrats!

Don’t get me wrong, I understand what is going on. The muskrats are compromising the banks of the canal on my end of town and they need to be stopped. I just don’t want to be a part of the carnage. I’m not sure what that makes me but I don’t want to see how they get rid of them. I’m just going to tell myself they trap them and take to some nice stream or river and let them go.

I’m comfortable with denial in this case.