And what is in your backyard? There’s an old adage that says “April showers bring May flowers”, but spring doesn’t only come with beautiful flowering plants and fresh veggies from your garden, it also brings a whole bunch of unwanted pests, namely voles, moles and gophers, who will spend the rest of the season comfortably munching on the roots of your plants and any vegetables you have planted nearby. But, how do you know which one of them is actually infesting your garden? After all, they all look the same, don’t they? The short answer, and the easiest one, is yes, they do look alike, but the truth is they don’t, and it doesn’t take the eye of an expert to differentiate between them. So, before these little nuisances start invading your yard, let’s take a look at how you can find out what is actually eating away at your carrots and ruining your lawn. Keep in mind that knowing what animal is infesting your backyard will lead to s more targeted and effective treatment

Gophers: The largest of the bunch

Measuring anywhere from 4 to 12 inches in length, gophers are the largest of them all, and therefore, are the ones that cause the most damage in the least amount of time. They are also known as pocket gophers because they have pouches in their cheeks which they use to carry food and materials to craft their nests. So, if you see an animal with big cheeks running across your lawn, it’s highly likely it is a gopher. Another way to identify gophers is through the color of their fur, which can range from a yellow brown to dark black, depending on the color of your soil. Yes, gophers can take on the color of the soil in your backyard, which helps them hide better. They also have rounded ears, sharp claws, large incisors at the top and bottom of their mouths, and a small tail.

Moles: The mid-size garden chomping machine

Moles are probably the easiest to recognize out of the bunch. They measure from 4 to 11 inches in length, and their eyes and ears are so small they appear to be missing from their head. Because of this moles have a very low tolerance for sunlight, so it is rare for them to be seen above ground. Their claws are large and they have hairless snouts, and while their diet mostly consists of insect they hunt for underground, your lawn and plants can be damaged by their digging activities.

Voles: The smallest and easiest to identify

Voles are often mistaken for field mice because they are very similar, with the only way to differentiate them is by the length of their tail, which is smaller in voles than in mice. Measuring 5 to 8 inches in length, voles are smaller and more compact than moles or gophers. The tail of a vole, much like that of a mouse, has no visible fur and its color ranges from black to brown and gray. Voles are also known as meadow mice and are known for the tunnels they dig in your yard, where they build nests and store. These tunnel systems, known as runways, look like trails of dry and dead grass. This happens because voles tend to run back and forth on the same path every time they come out of their tunnels to find food. Now that you can identify what is infesting your backyard, you can take the necessary steps to remove the invaders. Each type of pest requires a different type of treatment, so talk to your exterminator about what to do in your specific case. Dealing with termites and pests is no walk in the park.

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