Thursday, May 12

Rodent Obsession: Vole Control


Yesterday morning as I was raking the front yard, I pointed out to my neighbor the little network of crooked pathways of bare dirt we have in our lawns along the fence that separates our yards. "That's from voles," he said. "I saw them last fall. I thought they were just mice, but those little pathways are too uniform to not be the work of voles."

I'd heard people complain of vole damage in their yards before, but I'd never seen it, nor ever seen a vole as far as I knew. "They're like mice," Neighbor said, "but they have a stubbier snout."

Since the the length of mice snouts isn't one of my areas of expertise, I wasn't sure I'd recognize the tell-tale stubby vole snout if I saw it. I looked up pictures of the little creatures on the internet, but they weren't much help. Internet mice and internet voles looked pretty much the same to me.

I did learn that the Yukon and Alaska are the vole capital of North America. We have more types of voles than anywhere else. Seven species can be found here in the Yukon, one species intriguingly named the "singing vole" because of the loud trilling these voles make from the entrances to their burrows.

On my way out to go to town yesterday afternoon, I accidently let the indoor cat out. He's getting trickier and trickier to catch once he escapes, so I just left him out while I ran a few errands. When I returned home, the cat wasn't around, but there on my front stoop was a dead vole. It was bigger than I'd expected, but the stubby snout was unmistakeable.

I may have to accidently let the indoor cat out more often.
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