Don’t Let Gopher Mounds and Vole Holes Get You Frustrated

Voles are mouse-sized rodents that live in colonies in shallow burrows with multiple opening. Voles will set up their colonies in a vacant mole burrow. Voles eat roots, bulbs, seeds, plants, dead animals and tree bark. Many open holes with trails leading to and from are evident in a small patch of ground. Voles are nocturnal. Their tunnels are open and show wear around the opening where grass is worn and dead from many voles going in and out.

Woodland-Vole_web  voles using abandoned gopher feed holes  Vole damage 3_lg

Pocket gophers and moles have the ability to dig deep extensive tunnels. You can tell a gopher mound from a mole hill by the location of the tunnel under the surface. Mole hills resemble volcanoes, with the earthen plug in the center. Moles are carnivorous and do not eat plants. Moles prefer earthworms and other invertebrates. Some mole tunnels are so shallow you can often see a ridge of earth on the surface. A gopher digs up from its tunnel and pushes the dirt to the side creating a crescent shape. An earthen plug leading to the tunnel will be at the edge of the crescent.

 

Equipment for Trapping Voles   Vole Traps Set   Vole Trap Steps #3-Place gutter over set mouse traps

I have used mouse traps set under a 2’ piece of gutter secured to the ground over the vole opening. This trapping set up forces the voles to exit their tunnel one of two ways; however one vole will meet a “set” mouse trap either direction. I place rocks in other openings to force the voles out fewer holes. Unfortunately, I can only trap one or two per night. Trapping voles is not effective because there are so many. Vole populations fluctuate. Owl boxes are very effective if you have an ongoing problem. Grain cover strychnine is not an option for me under any conditions. Not only can the grain can be ingested by birds and other mammals, beware of the effects to natural predators –osprey, eagles, and mammals eating the carcass of a poisoned gopher. The beneficial creatures will suffer the effects of the strychnine as well.

 

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