Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mountains and molehills

The moles are very active in our back yard this year. I swear I'm going to name the little mountain range out there. It's probably visible from space. A few years ago I tried, in vain, to get rid of the little varmints (you can read about it here if you're interested). But I've since made my peace with the moles. They're good for the soil (if not for the grass) and they eat grubs and other larvae.

The Great Southwestern Mole Range in part of the back yard. A good source of potting soil.

Oddly enough, I thought that Bertie would help us to reduce the mole population or, at the very least, scare the little devils away. But no. In the nearly two years that Bert has been with us, he's brought us exactly two moles. And he didn't eat either of them.

Last week, during Bert's annual visit to the vet, we learned that cats aren't generally interested in moles. The vet didn't really explain why, and the little internet research I did wasn't particularly illuminating. But the evidence is clear: Bertie's presence has not had an impact on our mole population.

It could be because Bert doesn't spend a lot of time in the back yard. I think he sees the yard as the dog's domain. Callie will chase him out or up a tree if she sees him out there. Bert's wanderings generally take him farther afield. Maybe all the moles in our neighborhood see our yard as a safe haven.

Just my luck.


  1. oh I so feel your pain....last year the moles were back again....the little you know whats! We had been very earth first about it until the little creeps got under our new brick patio and made the bricks sink. We got these sheets of worms that looked like gummy bears .... or gummy worms....when we'd see activity we would remove a little dirt and put just a half a worm in the day later (sorry) a dead mole in our yard....then the next day ..... another one bit the dust. After some digging and leveling on the brick more mounds, tunnels, or mountains.

    I look forward to a mole free yard this year....if not I know how to take care of it.

    Victoria, Bellingham, WA

  2. Very interested to read the vet's comment that cats aren't very interested in moles. Cats are small mammal specialists and I've seen a French documentary on moles that claimed they were a threat. Anyway, very happy to learn that you and Bertie are now living in peace with the moles.

  3. Walt, watch or listen to Jasper Carrott's Mole Sketch, [you can find the animated version on U-Tube] is a superb bit of observation!
    And my Border Collie used to go after moles... never caught one and created biggg holes in the process... but always had that BC grin on his mush afterwards!!

  4. We had a problem with woodchucks in Connecticut and also finally just gave up. They ate the flowers but, unlike the moles, they didn't destroy the lawn and make it treacherous to walk. How frustrating. We also had a skunk problem and were told if we eradicated the grubs, we wouldn't see as many skunks. That DID work!

  5. Can't you tie little pink ribbons round each of the moles' necks, perhaps with a tiny tinkling bell? Just a thought.

  6. My grandparents always bought this plastic yellow spinning sunflowers on metal rods. Apparently the vibration of the spinning would run down the rod and into the ground thus scarring the little cutie patooties (I'm biased) away.

    But I like your mole mountain range better. :)

  7. Even with the mole hills, your yard seems so, oh, je ne sais pas, inviting.

  8. Or maybe Bertie doesn't find them very tasty.

  9. OMG! Look at those mole hills! At least that's one thing I don't have to contend with in our one acre Backyard Paradise. Would you like some of our wiregrass?

  10. The WV has just come up as "hares"... thank the gods they don't burrow!!

  11. victoria, I've not seen those little worm things here (but I have read about them). I'll have another look around.

    susan, Bert does take his share of voles and mice and birds. But the moles, not so much.

    tim, I'm glad that Callie isn't interested in the moles. The hills are one thing, but big holes and a dirty dog? Agh!

    mitch, I read about your woodchucks. And the best way to get rid of grubs here is, well, moles.

    raybeard, hehehe.

    writer, hmmmmmm...

    bill, we like it. This is just one section. The moles like it, too.

    starman, apparently! Maybe he's not using the right sauce?

    ron, I'll have to look up wiregrass...

    tim, um, don't they?

  12. Fortunately not, Walt... rabbits burrow, hares stay above ground all the time... raising their young in 'forms'... grass, formed into a nest.
    The young "leverets" develop much more quickly than rabbits and leave the form once they can see.
    Down here they are currently doing night counts to see how many hares there are... numbers have fallen quite noticeably. When we bought the house in 2003 it was quite common to see two or three together, most weeks. Now, nine years on, we are lucky to see them three times a year!

  13. tim, I didn't know that about hares. But we, too, have noticed a significant drop in sightings in recent years.


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