This article was originally published in the May 2016 issue of Cottage Life magazine.
When a muskrat on a high-fibre diet repurposed Doug Hitchcox’s boathouse dock as his regular toilet, the Georgian Bay cottager soon tired of navigating a “scat minefield” every morning. “I’d sweep it away, wash it away, and then it was back again,” he says.
Hitchcox installed a live trap, but the little excreter took the bait and got away. Even dusting the dock with black and cayenne pepper didn’t work. That’s when Hitchcox turned to technol- ogy. He thought some noise would be a deterrent, but decided to take it one step further. He bought a motion-sensitive light fixture and mounted a floodlight in one of the sockets. Next, he screwed an AC outlet adapter into the other socket and plugged in a portable radio. Just as the muskrat was about to powder its nose, it got a blast of light and a burst of classic rock.
It worked. “I know that station plays ‘Cat Scratch Fever,’” Hitchcox says. Perhaps Ted Nugent isn’t what an aquatic rodent wants to hear when it’s seeking relief. “The muskrat just disappeared and never came back,” Hitchcox says. “I only wish I’d thought of it earlier.”