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Dutch catcher now natural enemy of muskrat

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

OOSTERHOUT – A pre-WWII Czech count released for his enjoyment a few muskrats from North America in a pond on his estate decades ago, allowing the creatures to multiply at will without natural enemies. From the Czech estate, the muskrats spread out throughout much of Europe and have also invaded the Lowlands. The muskrat, which burrows in dikes, was declared an unwanted intruder and a danger to the Dutch diking system. Muskrat catchers stationed throughout its new habitat act as the animals’ natural enemy, a protracted battle that nets them thousands each year. The catchers experienced difficult times recently, when higher than normal water levels in the rivers made it hard to place the traps (cages), while sub-zero temperatures added other challenges. A pause in the anti-muskrat drive is not an option, since the critter is very fertile. They reproduce three times a year, on average with six babies each time.