GOPHERS GOPHERS EVERYWHERE – But are they really gophers ?? The cute little blond critters that run.
In the Spring we get many calls about Voles, Moles, Gophers, Mice and even Rats. People love them, maybe, but want them to say in their own yards. Sharing our spaces with these critters can cause a big mess and really affect our hard work!
Do you know how to ID some of the different rodents we can find in Alberta?
MOLES: These suckers almost look the same but we don't have moles in Alberta. We call our special creatures, Northern Pocket Gophers! They still live underground for most of their lives and still make those crazy mounds in our yard full of the precious black dirt.
These guys actually look like a mouse that has been to the gym too many times. They can be anywhere from tan to dark brown in colour, with very short legs. (Yes, they missed leg days too. Who are we kidding, we all do some time.) These have a darker coat and have huge cheeks to pack home food and nesting materials.
They are long-clawed and can dig like there is no tomorrow – they also have huge massive long incisor teeth. These critters can grow up to 14 inches long.
These guys can be trapped out of your property. But another great control to make sure we keep them alive, but in their own spaces is to treat your broadleaf weeds. Northern Pocket Gophers feed on the roots of vegetation. They can't sustain their young on grass roots alone so they often enter lawns in the Spring to eat those pesky broadleaf weeds. So it is easy to keep them off your property, just control your dandelions and they will move to the neighbours. LOL
GOPHERS: The cute little blond critters that run at the speed of light and give a high pitched chirp are actually called Richardson Ground Squirrels and look like this :
They dig into the soil and leave a nice dirt-rimmed hole to trip into. They scurry to and from their burrow all day - and will produce one litter per year – averaging 6 – to as many as 14 pups. They love seeds, nuts, grains, grasses and insects and are known to be cannibalistic as well. Ewwww!
Leave nothing out or on the ground for them to get into – or they will, and they will bring their friends, who will bring their friends, who will then bring their friends…. You are getting our drift.
These critters do not like long grass. So an easy way to keep them off your property without the use of baits or chemicals is to grow a long grass border. That way they cant see the wonderful oasis you have waiting for them on the other side of the fence. They are much like us and think the grass is greener on the other side!
Quite the difference between the two but both are very damaging and destructive.