Rodent Wars

I have pocket gophers. This year we had hardly any of the iconic yellow prairie garter snakes but we have had a veritable infestation of field mice and pocket gophers. The field mice I am less concerned about. They do very little damage as long as they stay outside the house. Also between my cat and neighbours’ cats and the semi-feral bunch of cats we have in town, the mice seem to be caught as quickly as they multiply. I say that because my cat, who is elderly and cranky and prefers sunning himself to hunting, has been bringing home at least one mouse a day. And then there are the gophers. The young ones are apparently an easy mark. Klinger brought home three little ones over the course of a few days. The adults are another matter.


The first mound appeared in my strawberry patch. By inserting a hose and letting it run a couple of hours I eventually got that one to move. The gopher moved into my herb garden. More attempts at drowning and the [expletive] critter moved into my potato patch. The potatoes apparently loved the water. I will have a fine lot this year judging by the lush growth and heavy blooms. Persistent attempts at drowning finally got the little creature to move across the yard to my tomato plants bed. This gopher move apparently required going above ground because Klinger brought home a fat adult female as a present for me. Good cat. (Yuck!) Thank you kitty for the fine present. (Gag!) I am reminded why we domesticated you little bossy arrogant savages who think you own the bed.


I bought two kinds of traps I was assured would work. They didn’t. I tried the juicy fruit gum trick. The rodents were unimpressed. Nor were they caught. They do seem to dislike the mothballs down the gopher hole trick. The mothballs ended up in the mounds. Mothballs apparently do not encourage moving on, just house cleaning. I refuse to try poison. The cats are too important to risk with second hand poison.

The rodent has now retreated to beside my garage. I am on my second day of flooding.  I thought I was done yesterday. I was flooding the mound and got a strong whiff of rodent nest as the water started gushing in. A rodent exited another hole and made a mad dash under the fence and towards the neighbour’s yard. The rodent didn’t get very far because a red tailed hawk swooped down from the sky and carried off lunch. I need to wear a go pro when I am in my yard because no one believes me and I have no proof. I now know why I am being followed by a hawk.

Apparently there was more than one gopher down there even though Wikipedia says they are solitary and territorial. This morning the mounds were renewed. I came out this morning to find wet mud in all the freshened mounds. Usually the gopher moves once it has to excavate mud and I flood them again. Hopefully that means they will move next door where they aren’t my problem anymore. My neighbour said she prefers the mice and gophers to garter snakes. We’ll see how she feels when they are filling her yard with mounds. I hope my garage does not collapse once the water drains away.

On the bright side, as I went out to check the rodent mound, I found a flower. It’s a native wildflower I have been trying to get to grow forever by collecting seed and spreading in my yard. It’s right there, blooming it’s pretty red head off. If not for the gopher I might have missed it. That doesn’t mean I have forgiven the mound making invader though.

If you know any better tricks for driving off northern pocket gophers, I’m more than ready to hear them.


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