Sunday, January 13, 2013
Gophers and Moles
A Man Can Try For Years To Bag A Gopher~
With the moisture of late the moles and gophers, who had been daunted by the drought, have made their return with a vengeance. Since they are a problem of fairly vast proportion, a brief description of their physical appearance and habits might be helpful. They are rodents and require strong measures to eliminate and exterminate them.
A gopher’s home is recognized by the large mound of earth above it. Their nest is usually about a foot below ground and lined with leaves. The smaller mounds surrounding the nest are indicative of places they are searching for food. Their food choices include the gardener’s favorites…vegetables, buds, grass, nuts, roots and bulbs and they can totally decimate a lovely lawn or garden in very few days. On one occasion, I watched in fascination as a tall asparagus began disappearing below the ground, pulled with slow, deliberate, jerky motions until it disappeared completely!
The mole, who lives in long, complex tunnels below the ground, is a fast, tireless digger whose body is shaped for burrowing. They have poor eyesight, move slowly and although they have no external ears, their hearing is excellent. Their tails are hairless and tactile; it is an organ of touch which can “feel” as the mole backs up in his hole. The forepaws, specially designed to scoop earth, are hinged sideways on the mole’s body and equipped with large broad nails to act as a shovel. Their diet consists mainly of insects and worms, however their tunnels will destroy a garden by adding pockets of air around plants and deeply burying bulbs.
With an understanding of the habits of the two, methods for extermination must be examined. For the garden, dropping bits of poison to kill the earth worms into mounds to eliminate a food source seems self-defeating… the worms are a beneficial element. Flooding with a hose makes an unsightly mess and often the water will implode the underground burrows leaving deep crevices in its wake. Trapping is time consuming and a full time job if the problem is severe. Short of purchasing a gopher catching cat, the most efficient way to eliminate these pests is to purchase an invention which attaches to the exhaust pipe of your car and then to a garden hose. With the engine running you can fill the burrows, tunnels, or holes with highly toxic, extremely fatal carbon monoxide exhaust! Available at Ace and True Value Hardware, this inexpensive and handy device is guaranteed to provide hours of winter fun for any gardener.