The past few weeks I've noticed several small holes that are about 2 inches
wide appear in my back yard like the above example. I've been at this
location for six years and this is the first time I've seen a bunch of
small holes like this, which is odd. I live at the foot of a mountain and
have had a running problem with moles, but currently there are no active
mole tunnels and I don't think moles are doing this. I tried filling all
the ones I could see up with dirt about a week ago but the holes were back
By chance I overheard some people talking in a local store about small
holes in the ground yesterday and one guy said the only thing he knew that
would cause a hole like this are snakes, but I haven't seen any snakes in
this area yet. The holes are in close proximity to my sunflower seed bird
feeder which is mounted on a 6 foot steel pole for what that's worth.
Any ideas what could be causing these holes? Thanks.
On May 18, 7:55 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org (Dennis M) wrote:
Clue #1: Where's the dirt that came out of the hole? A squirrel,
chipmonk, or other top dwellers would leave the dirt near the hole. A
snake will move loose surface dirt to get under something (i.e. a
mostly horizontal hole) but they're not going to dig a verticle hole
out in the open like that one in the pic.
There is no dirt surrounding the holes. I'm pretty sure there's a network
of tunnels under the ground caused by moles, I remember when I tried to
fill them up with dirt I'd stick my fingers in and I could reach
horizontally in some directions as far as my fingers would go (probably not
a good idea if it's snakes doing this).
I wouldn't have thought those holes were big enough for a chipmunk to fit
inside though, maybe they're smaller than I remember because I don't recall
seeing any around lately.
But that would make sense because of the seeds dropped by birds nearby.
I have holes just like in the picture.
They go down about 2 inches with no tunnels going anywhere.
We have lots of chipmunks but I'm outside all summer and I've never
observed one being dug.
We have other holes that are plainly chipmunk tunnels.
Almost always next to a root or rock so they can tunnel under something
We have lots of raccoons and skunks. So since I don't see them in
action, I blame one of them.
Looks like a vole hole to me... they're critters similar to mice, and they tend
to make these flat holes that are (depending on species) 1-2" or so.
Other possibilities include crawdads and chipmunks, as well as a number of
other species. Depends on where you live, but a call to the local extension
service or master gardeners will usually get you a list of local probabilities.
Gophers typically dig a mound with the hole off to one side and a fan of
bare, dug up soil around it... sort of like an off-center egg yolk in a fried
egg. Moles make volcanoes with the hole in the middle. Voles do the very
flat holes, usually 1-maybe 2" in diameter, depending on species and local
Voles sound like a good possibility. I've heard of them, and the pellets I
buy sometimes to fight moles also say they can take care of voles. When the
moles really get bad I'll usually wrap the pellets up in chewing gum to
make them more palatable to them, that's a lot cheaper than buying that
I really don't mind these holes as much as the mess that moles can make.
Maybe the voles can drive the moles away, lol.
Still kind of strange that I'd start seeing vole holes all of a sudden
after being here six years, maybe there's just a bumper crop of them this
Voles are also known as meadow mice or field mice, and look pretty mouse-ish.
Short ears. They go through boom and bust population cycles
(like most small mammals) and you're probably in a boom year now... about
7 years is a typical small mammal boom and bust cycle. You'll probably have
a lot of happy owls, coyotes, cats, etc. with full bellies. <g>
If you see a lot of plantings that look like you've got root disturbance going
on, pull any loose mulch away from them and you'll probably get the voles to
On May 19, 6:49 pm, email@example.com (Dennis M) wrote:
Look at other posts in this group about getting grass to grow. You'll
usually see a response about renting an aerator to make holes similar
to the ones you have. It allows air to reach down into the soil and
makes plants healthy. So if the holes you have are not causing you a
problem consider them a benefit.
On Sun, 20 May 2012 23:06:20 -0700, "David E. Ross"
And if voles they are far more destructive than moles... mole
tunneling is merely unsightly but they do the benefit of eating
grubs... however voles eat plant roots leaving death in their wake.
The reason there's no mound of excavated earth at those holes is
because they are very likely exit holes, their entrance holes could be
many yards away, maybe under a large rock or shrub. If you begin to
notice dying plants and dead patches of lawn you have voles. I didn't
notice any lawn around those holes, just bare earth and sparse weeds,
very likely not a gardener living there, just someone curious about
the holes but in all likelyhood will do nothing about them.
<Gravesend1> wrote:>On Sun, 20 May 2012 23:06:20 -0700, "David E. Ross"
No I'll admit I'm not a gardener, the only thing they could destroy
(besides grass) is a few huge shrubs or a rose bush several feet away and
I'm not too worried about that. I'm not anal about having a perfect
backyard especially since there's nothing behind me but a huge mountain, I
was just curious about what was causing these holes.
There must be some serious chambers beneath the holes though, I tried
pouring several gallons of water down a few of them and never could fill
them up. I finally gave up because I didn't want to jack up the water bill.
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