The Q&A Archives: Voles And Other Burrowing Rodents

Question: blood may add nitrogen to the soil (and help the plants recover from the damage?) Dried bobcat urine (from Gurney's) scattered over the groundcovers may do the same. We read somewhere that moth flakes (rather than mothballs) won't hurt the plants...but I think they were talking about camphor...all we could find was paradichlorobenzene, and from the smell of it, I can't believe it's not harmful.
My question is: what about snakes? Where can I find a really big blacksnake, which would go right into the tunnels and clear up my problem for good? Snakes aren't as cute as voles, but are a whole lot easier to live with.

Answer: Such population explosions are apparently cyclical, and I would expect the blacksnakes to be booming in tandem with their food supply although you may never see them. If you are seriously in search of a snake, you might try contacting naturalists and wildlife rehab specialists as well as animal and pest control companies in your area and see if they have been asked to relocate any snakes -- to which you could offer a home. In the meantime, traps baited with oatmeal and peanut butter work pretty well but probably are more effective in the fall; vole predators include short-tailed shrews, badgers, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, barn owls, great horned owls, long-eared owls, short-eared owls, barred owls, screech owls, and some snakes. Another possible repellent besides the one syou listed is red pepper; another approach is to wrap wire mesh around the base of the most prized woody plants. I'm sorry about the destruction -- know first hand how disheartening and extensive the damage can be.

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