Moles, Voles, and Gophers.
What are they, you ask? Well all three are quite different yet they are often confused for each other when they are self identified. All three do cause lawn damage yet the damage they cause is quite different. The most common misconception would be that moles and gophers are the same thing or that voles and moles are the same. Voles are going to be the most different of the three, as the vole is more the size of a mouse and can be known as a meadow mouse. Voles cause little tiny holes in the ground and most commonly yards or meadows. They also leave little trails or runs between the holes that cause even more damage to the lawn. They tend to feed off seeds and small plant matter or grass in the spring and summer then bark and tree roots in the fall and winter. They will store their food in these tunnel systems they create and gather as much as they can even though they do not hibernate and are active all year long. Voles cause lots of damage to trees and wooden ornamentals in the common yard and can even cause damage to gardens.
Moles and gophers are the other two lawn damaging rodents that homeowners can often find in their yards. The nice thing about living in the Treasure Valley is that there aren’t normally moles. Unless the home is right up against the border of Oregon there is a higher chance of the pest being a gopher. An easy way to make sure that it is a gopher rather than a mole would be just by looking at the mounds. A mole isn’t going to come up to the surface like a gopher will since their eyes are super light sensitive. Their mounds are going to have finer dirt and will be more cone shaped as they push up their extra dirt as they dig. Gophers aren’t as light sensitive and will come to the surface from time to time, this causes their dirt to be a bit more chunky and the mound is more flat. Usually you can see a bit or a crescent shape in the middle of the gopher mound from where they plug the hole up. The mounds are going to be the most destructive thing a mole can really do as they eat worms and grubs from lawns but the gopher eats the roots of plants and they can eat the roots of the grass.
All three of these pests can cause lots of lawn damage but now as they may pop up in your lawn you can look for these common factors to maybe help self identify what it may be. From there you can give us a call and we can come out to give a quote and make sure they don’t cause any more damage!