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#505646 05/10/19 07:15 AM
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Yesterday I found 3 opened mussel shells in a small area around the pond edge. And so I am guessing another otter has showed up. Am I thinking correctly? I have traps out but may need to move them. I have seen a shell from time to time over the last year and thought mussel's in a pond equaled good water quality is that true and if that the case and I have them in the pond, won't that also mean I have another food source for my Res/Shellcrackers? As you can see here, I know little about the mussels and what all eats them.


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Tracy
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It's not uncommon for me to find little mussel shells on occasion, small ones that would sit on a dime. I have not had any signs of otters, ever. Once, I had a bit of an outbreak of shells that, I assume, floated to the surface on mats of FA. My pond is quite a ways from otter habitat, but if I was closer to the constant running rivers/creeks...I would definitely be on the lookout for their presence.

Raccoons will also seek the mussels and leave the empties at the banks.

I am with you in thinking that their presence is a good sign of fertility and health, and believe that RES eat several types of mussels given that they are soft shelled enough to crack.


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We have fresh water mussels around some ponds without otters in Oklahoma.

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Mussels are also eaten by mink and muskrats.

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Do mussels create any positive effect on a pond besides food for certain fish?


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Lunker
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Good question...bivalves are filter feeders and in areas with zebra mussel infestations the water clarity is off the charts - not necessarily a good thing as that water is likely devoid of any nutrients, also. I'm far from a bivalve expert...I do enjoy a green lip mussel sauteed in garlic butter from time to time, however.


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I would do anything to have an otter make a home in my pond. I wouldn't mind paying 1k a year in brook trout stocking to have an otter family. Maybe that is why they say, "Careful what you wish for."

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We have these in our pond:





I have to assume muskrat or raccoon because we definitely do not have otters in our location.

Last edited by Bocomo; 05/10/19 04:42 PM.
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Thanks for the input guys. When I was a kid my father had me eat or taste a fresh water mussel but I don't remember if I ate it or not. Looking back he was a big tease kind of guy. So, if its not an otter then I will say it is a coon that is eating the mussels, just not sure how he is getting to them. Never seen one float on the surface.


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Those mussels look very similar to the ones we used to have in the river here. Local commercial fishermen fished them out to sell in Japan for buttons and pearl seeds. They were mostly buried in the mud with hinge side deep, they would just stick an air hose in their mouth from a janky compressor and have at it. Raccoons could easily fish them out of shallower water.

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I have them around my pond.

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I remember reading that water quality was good if you have them.


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My pond had a lot of those before I dug it out. I expect them to come back without any assistance, but if the stork don't
bring them I know where I can find some easy enough. They are fairly common around here.

https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/pond-mussel

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Originally Posted by Bocomo
We have these in our pond:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I have to assume muskrat or raccoon because we definitely do not have otters in our location.

I found two shells like this recently at our pond. I had no idea any were in the pond, and can’t imagine how they got there. Maybe off of some duck feet? I have coons that visit the pond nightly, and I think I may have a muskrat. I just got a glimpse of one diving off of some branches that are above the water. Good to see from this thread that the muscles are beneficial. I’m thinking the muskrat is not so beneficial. I’m thinking of setting up a blind near where I saw him..


8 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (going away), SMB, and HSB (didn’t make it. 0 seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) I think we have survivors!
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
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Setterguy,

Many mussels depend on fish as hosts for their larvae. They attach in their gills generally and use the fish's blood as a source of food. They don't do much harm to the fish. If in high water any fish may have entered your pond or if you have transferred fish that were already hosts this would explain how they got there.

Last edited by jpsdad; 05/02/20 04:29 PM.

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


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[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Their foot is how they move without water although the substrate has to be soft for them to go very far but they are quite mobile.

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We had 5-6" long ones in our main pond within the second year. Don't know how they grew so big so fast. If you walk around in about 4-5' of water and feel with your feet on the bottom they will be sticking up about half submerged.

For a bit of trivia, it is illegal in Kansas to have mussels in your possession or even dead mussel shells. They are "protected". Kind of like it is illegal to possess an eagle feather or even hawk feather.

There is a story somewhere on the internet where a Kansas woman got hooked on walking creek banks collecting mussel shells. There are lots of different varieties. One day she found out it was illegal. She contacted a game warden and told him of her predicament, thinking he might make an exception since she only collected dead shells from the bank. She never collected live shells. He told her to bring her shell collection in. She did. He took the collection and wrote her a $50 ticket for the possession.

Kansas mussels

Last edited by snrub; 05/02/20 11:21 PM.

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What on earth is so special about them?

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If I could find that old article, as I recall they used to be commercially harvested along the Missouri river. Seems like that and loss of habitat made someone believe they needed to be protected. Used to harvest them for the mother of pearl for buttons eons ago, back in steamship days.


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