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This 36 message thread spans 2 pages: 36 ( [1] 2 > >     
How Do I Get Rid of Moles, Voles and Gophers?
Without Hurting Them

 2:14 am on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

We have some cute little critters ripping up our lawn. I don't want to harm them, I just want them to pack up and move to the open space. I have a catalog with all sorts of gadgets - sulphur & garlic sticks, solar powered vibrational sticks, sonic noise sticks, powder with fox urine, etc.

We have lots of squirrels, too, and I don't want to do anything to make them move on as they are fun to watch.

Has anyone tried any of these gopher gadgets and if so, do any of them work?



 2:29 am on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

We have cats and a dog that really like to "play" with them.

Far as I know all those doodads are just a wallet siphon.


 2:44 am on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Unforunately if you have the environment that they thrive in, there is no "nice" way to get rid of them.

Introducing a predator will usually scare them away with the least amount of carnage as willyb stated above.


 11:25 am on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

We've got dogs, and the odd fox. Moles made a real mess of our lawn, we tried several devices which put out low and high frequency vibrations, without success.

Eventually the lawn was decimated and we were really pi**ed off, so we got the local mole catcher and his traps in.

Not really proud about it, but the moles have gone and the grass is recovering!


 1:22 pm on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

We have lots of cats... and moles. I think moles are kinda cute in a pathetic way. But last summer the moles really ripped up our lawn.

I've heard of one local guy who captures moles LIVE by reaching down into their burrows (somehow). Charges about $75 a mole.


 1:51 pm on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

For $75 a mole I'd grab a few myself.


 2:00 pm on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I live "in the woods." Critters are everywhere, most of which we put up with . . . but the burrowing ones are nearly impossible to keep out. Also interested in a positive solution although I don't have the same healthy critter requirements! :-) )

I have found one thing. It's not great because it only covers limited areas, but it works. Years ago I developed a site for customer who had an invention. His invention has since been copied and you can find it in most garden centers. Of course, I cannot state the original name here, but it's designed to chase moles away.

The difference between the original and most of the ones out there is the copycats use a simple electronic sound maker. The original has an actual metal propeller (or whatchacallit) that physically spins in the device, creating both sound waves and metallic physical vibrations.

You have an electronic device that sits atop four D-cell batteries. The entire thing slides inside an aluminum tube with a plastic cap. Bury the chaser straight in up to the cap. It must be buried all the way to the cap or the vibrations won't conduct to the ground. Once a minute, the electronic device goes off creating a rattling, vibrosonic sound. It successfully keeps the moles out of an area up to 5000 sq. ft.

The concept is simple: with the constant chatter of this device, you annoy them away. They won't hang around with it going off once a minute. Batteries last about three months. To replace them, you don't need to unearth the chaser, just unscrew the cap and slide the unit out.

Pretty simple, but it works, we have one in the garden and one in the back yard.

The problem is, I need about 20 of them, the little buggers move outside the "vibration" area and wreak havoc elsewhere. Sitting up all night with the shotgun has been considered.

For those without "healthy critter" requirements: I've been considering inviting some corn snakes or gopher snakes into my environment as a defensive tact. What does anyone think about this, good idea? Bad?


 3:24 pm on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

when gophers ripped our lawn I just wanted them to go away, so we tried non-lethal methods. Nothing worked, including vibrating stick (copied design :) ). Little food pallets didn't work either. I had enough and put couple of "lethal" traps - next morning I found one trap thrown outside of the hole (I felt like I was in a cartoon :) ). I re-buried it, and latter found that gopher got caught but managed to get out somehow....afterwards we didn't have any more gopher problems


 3:33 pm on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

this whole thread makes me think of caddyshack ;)


 4:19 pm on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

<snicker> Yeah my wife calls me Carl all the time. "They're like the Viet Cong - Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower. . . . "


 5:33 pm on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's easy, simply piss in every entrance/exit hole you can find. Worked for me, but the neighbors were not pleased......



 9:17 pm on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's easy, simply piss in every entrance/exit hole you can find. Worked for me, but the neighbors were not pleased......

So kind of like the Dog Whisperer recommends being the lead dog, you marked your territory as the head gopher?

[edited by: Jane_Doe at 10:09 pm (utc) on April 15, 2008]


 11:10 pm on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's easy, simply piss in every entrance/exit hole you can find. Worked for me, but the neighbors were not pleased......

Possibly a task better suited for Mr. Jane_Doe.


 11:35 pm on Apr 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

Works for groundhogs too, even better if you use an old fashioned chamber pot and pour the " Night Soil" down the hole. It makes the groundhogs move out real quick, and is less hard on the neighbors visual faculties......



 12:02 am on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, this thread is going to s**t


 4:41 pm on Apr 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

This actually works? As said, I live in the woods and . . . well, a man would understand.

Automan Empire

 2:13 am on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

If human urine doesn't work, you can buy lion glans extract. It is supposed to be a universal prey-species repellant.

I wonder if dumping a catbox down their hole would work the same? Solves two problems at once, three if you count the fertilizing.


 2:20 am on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Take a lawnmower or strimmer with a piped exhaust, then connect a hose to it. You could use your car if you can get it close enough.

Put the other end of the hose down the hole and wait. The mole problem will abate itself within minutes.


 4:30 am on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

The mole problem will abate itself within minutes.

Of, they are just too cute and sweet to hurt. We had one injured by a neighbor's cat. We tried to save it but it was DOA at the animal hospital.


 5:36 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

vincevincevince - unfortunately smoke approaches don't work at all. These guys are industrious burrowers, when you try to gas them they push the dirt up against the tunnel and block it up. Tried it. :-(

they are just too cute and sweet to hurt.

Gremlins are cute. Teddy bears are cute. Kittens are cute. Burrowing cantelope-raping-yard-excavating critters are just plain evil. :-)


 5:43 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

We tried to save it but it was DOA at the animal hospital.

You took a MOLE to an animal hospital! Thought only my wife would do something like that.


 5:46 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Invite the Eetazeeb company [comics.com] to have a conference at your home. (If you're not a regular reader of the "Pearls Before Swine" comic strip, it won't be as funny. But if you are, you should appreciate the timing of this thread and the current subject matter in the strip. :) )

[edited by: LifeinAsia at 5:47 pm (utc) on April 17, 2008]


 6:09 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Knew someone who hooked their car exhaust up to the hole and managed to smoke their family out of the house - guess the hole led there.

A temp chemist in work helped himself to some arsenic to cure an animal problem and ended up in hospital with arsenic poisoning.

Bottom line: the animals are often far more intelligent than humans

travelin cat

 11:23 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

You can buy coyote and wolf urine online. Spray it around every hole you find. Worked for us in a previous location.

In this house we have cats, lots and lots of cats, but no rats, mice, voles, moles or anything else smaller then a cat.


 12:11 am on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

You took a MOLE to an animal hospital! Thought only my wife would do something like that.

We have a local wild life museum with a hospital specifically for injured wild animals. It's a busy place - lots of people bring animals there.

Actually the hospital staff said it was a baby gopher (not a mole), but based on Google images it looked more like a vole.


 12:16 am on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Gremlins are cute. Teddy bears are cute. Kittens are cute. Burrowing cantelope-raping-yard-excavating critters are just plain evil. :-)

No, this one was really adorable. I'd rather have them rip up the lawn than hurt them. But If they would just rip up the open space instead of our lawn, that would be even better.


 2:33 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

On our property, we go out after mowing the lawn and wait around in areas where the moles have been digging. The tractor flattens down the trails pretty well, so inside of half an hour or so you'll start to see the grass move as the moles begin to rebuild...a quick swing with a sledgehammer and a few jabs with a shovel, and you'll have a very dead mole on the surface and a small hole in the yard which can easily be filled in (with or without the mole).


 3:00 pm on Apr 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's easy, simply piss in every entrance/exit hole you can find
If I'm not mistaken that is rule number 32 in the canine behaviour manual. (Written for dogs by dogs)

I don't know about moles, but that would certainly make me want to leave. :~)

My old gran told me once about a drunken gentleman from the armed services doing the same thing through her letter box during the war - she hit him with the coal shovel. So be careful the moles aren't armed.


 8:42 pm on Apr 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Researching the Enemy

I have a rare opportunity, a day off from working. I spent two hours of it today researching the topic over 30 websites and forums, two of which were government reports, and have the following to share. Of these, three pages were **extremely** helpful in separating the wheat from the chaff, PM me for the URL's.

To Jane_Doe, sorry this won't be of much help, none of these methods include keeping the little buggers alive (with the exception of the methods to drive them away or fence them out.) But I found a lot of interesting info on gopher eradication.

Know your Enemy. The first step is understanding what you have, as treatments and methods are very different. Moles leave a small volcanic mound with a hole in the center; gophers push up crescent shaped mounds and plug the hole behind them. I have pocket gophers. This is what I researched.

Also it's important to know that if you drive out/kill one gopher, others will move into their territory and use the same tunnels.

When employing any of the methods mentioned, USE GLOVES as these guys are extremely sensitive to human scent of any kind and will avoid any area with it (which is a good vote for the urine approach.)

What may or may not work.
Time and time again, the following methods are discussed and may or may not actually work. People rave their method really worked (see my post on the chaser! :-) ) but none of them are proven or verified by any professional source. Among these are:

"Electronic" sticks: Gophers don't scare easily. These are claimed not to work. But in my personal experience, they do annoy them out of a given area. So if you just want to keep them out of a garden, this may help.

Gopher fences: Dig down at least 24" around your garden and fence it underground, leaving 12" above ground so they can't jump over. Whew, what a lot of work.

Scent-based approach: Ammonia, human urine, or commercial pellets with fox urine.

Non-toxic spraying: Another approach is a castor-oil based treatment. The oil covers the food source (grub worms, insects, etc.) and gives them "intestinal disruption." They associate that territory with the belly ache, and move away. This is a long-term solution; it takes three weeks or so to start having effect and needs to be re-applied every few weeks. Worse than dandelions!

Poisons: discussed, and effectiveness is not proven.

Burn 'em out: I even found a source that sells a device that pumps propane and oxygen into the tunnels. When you begin to smell the propane, an igniter in the device blows the little buggers to smithereens and collapses the tunnels, preventing newcomers from using the same tunnels. I've even seen suggestions to pour gasoline into the tunnels and "carefully light it." Please report back if you try this approach and survive, we will nominate you for the Darwin awards.

Chewing Gum: of all the unproven methods, this one seems to show some promise, I have seen many unrelated sources claim it works. Get a pack of Juicy Fruit gum, put gloves on (see scent above,) open the pack, roll up a plug and throw it down the hole. They eat the gum and can't digest it. "Death by constipation."

Drowning, smoking, or other hole-chasing: With new visitors, a garden hose down the hole may drive them out (have a shovel handy for the satisfactory head whacking that follows) but in older systems, it will never work. Gophers can move up to one ton of soil per day. This is not a frugal claim, this is directly from one government reports I found. So an old system will never fill up; additionally, the nest chambers are always higher than the rest of the tunnels. They'll wait it out and watch the river roll on by.

As mentioned, gophers are industrious tunnellers; as soon as they sense an odor they plug up the chambers in no time. Smoking or noxious gas approaches will have only sporadic results.

Ground glass: One person mentioned they had an area where gophers would never go. Turns out it was a family dump before his house was built and it was filled with broken glass. He put ground glass into holes and under his new shrubs and the gophers went away. Interesting approach, who knows.

What absolutely, positively works

Repeatedly I came across one method used by professionals, and is mentioned again and again as the best method, including the government report pages I found: trapping. Of the gizmos out there, there is one trap, created in the early 1900's, that is still useful today: the Macabee style trap or imitations. If this trap is not working for you, read on, it may be how you're setting it.

Similar to a mouse trap but not, the Macabee is designed with the arms/prongs on the sides instead of a single bar that swings over the top. The actual trip is at the back of the trap. Because gophers push soil ahead of them when clearing out a tunnel (see "know your enemy",) just about when the soil hits the trip switch, their head/neck is lined up with the prongs and it snaps shut. They never see the trap because it's ahead of the dirt they are pushing.

Key to making these work is understanding the pattern you see above ground. The crescent shaped mounds are an exit hole leading to the main runway. Usually they will go straight(ish) down for 4-12 inches to the main runway, something like

runway <---- -----> runway

with the vertical pipe representing the exit hole directly under the crescent-shaped mound.

What you must do is properly identify where the runway is and dig down so you can see it in both directions. That's the hard part. PM for links to two excellent guides that display how to locate the runway and how to set the traps.

Once found, you need two Macabees, one in each hole. Chain/string them together end to end, with the middle of the chain staked nearby so they don't drag your traps down the hole.

This part is important: cover the trap area with a board, then cover that with dirt so no light enters the tunnel. Gophers become very suspicious when light or air enters a tunnel where it shouldn't. Contrast this to some traps that have an open end, and claim the gopher is drawn into the trap because they want to close up the opening.

I was off to the hardware store but checked our shed - it appears I have two perfectly good Macabees, old ones, in my shed, inherited from my wife's dad. I'm off to git me sum gofers . . . will report back on the effectiveness of "superior firepower."

Superior intelligence remains to be proven . . . .


 11:55 pm on Apr 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

He put ground glass into holes and under his new shrubs and the gophers went away. Interesting approach, who knows.

I think it is more likely that they died a horrible death from intestinal bleeding than "just went away".

[edited by: Jane_Doe at 11:55 pm (utc) on April 20, 2008]

This 36 message thread spans 2 pages: 36 ( [1] 2 > >
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