Squirrel Relatives: The Family Tree
Just like the Griswolds had cousin Eddie, Jimmy Carter had brother Billy, and Hillary has you-know-who, you may need to get rid of wodchucks, moles and chipmunks also! Even if you have success getting rid of squirrels, these rodents represent yet another chapter in your ongoing saga! They’re not all related, but they all share one thing in common: they love living off of you! Here’s a few of the suburban garden pests you may encounter:
Woodchucks & Groundhogs
Woodchucks or groundhogs (whatever you prefer to call ‘em) are a bit like their wily tree-living cousins: short, hairy, and a pain in the neck. They’re not overly hardworking or industrious, the don’t dig up your yard too much or swarm over your bird feeder like a wave of hairy locusts. They’re kind of roly-poly and innocent looking. They do, however, love to eat. Your garden. Every chance they get. Fences, repellents and traps are all good ways to get rid of them without resorting to lethal chemical or other means of removing them. They really are very cute…
Moles are a problem when they become entrenched in your yard. Unlike what you see from Mole Trackssquirrel damage, they dig what seems like miles of tunnels just under the surface, leaving your yard looking quite disturbed above ground, and feeling spongy underfoot. They eat grubs, worms, insects and roots. Contrary to what is most commonly referred to, getting rid of grubs in your yard is no guarantee that getting rid of moles will follow…they also eat earthworms and insects.
Moles are kind of creepy, sort of like Wind in the Willows gone bad. They have invasive-looking pointed noses and feet that turn outward with long nails for digging. There are lots of methods for getting rid of moles in your yard, including traps, repellents, ultrasonic devices and poisons. …begin by identifying which type you have and how prevalent they are and deciding what works best for you.
Although related to squirrels, chipmunks look like a smaller version of their tree-loving cousins, but they’re quite a bit different. They can be distinguished from squirrels by the Chipmunk Holedistinctive double stripe that runs down their back. Chipmunks don’t live in trees, but are ground creatures. They live underground and like to burrow in and around anything available: stone walls, gutter spouts, under porches, etc. They are voracious eaters and love nuts, seeds, plants, grasses, almost anything. Left your dog food or cat food out? They love that too! If you have a cat that goes outdoors, you probably don’t have too much of a problem with squirrels. (Even some dogs like to chase them – Shelties love to herd them…harmless enough, but terrifying for the chipmunk!) Live traps are a good way to capture and release these little guys. Mouse traps work also, although not nearly as pleasant a solution.
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