Friday, April 24, 2009

"Whac-A-Mole" - Not!

Okay, so gophers are not the only creatures who wreak havoc on the rural idyll we call our "backyard"--the bucolic garden of Pescadero's McCormick House Inn....
As I said in my last blog entry, my husband does not love gophers, or whatever it is that's digging up our yard (Moles or Gophers or both?) and eating the roots of his beloved broccoli plants (Not Moles-see "Mole Facts #4 & #7" below). Today, he decided to take mallots--I mean, matters (oh, dear, that was bad--forgive me)--into his own hands.

No animals were injured in the making of the following film.)
While my husband was, happily, unsuccessful in killing anything--amazingly, he did succeed, a few minutes later, in digging up and catching the large, very cranky, velvet-brown mole, who's trying to wriggle its way out of the picture, above.

In my most plaintive, high-pitched whine, I pled for its life--citing the official "McCormick House Trap, Film & Release" injunction to be applied to all "incorrigible, non-rehabilitative garden pests". 

After trying to hold this mole for the following 30 second video (not an easy thing to do, since it really did not want to be held), we walked down the road to a lovely open field (above Pescadero's "New Hope" Cemetery) and set it free, never to return (or so we thought-see "Mole Fact #5).
Please, don't try this at home....or, if you do, make sure you're wearing a pear of leather working gloves from "Woman's Work" (a bargain at $34--they're thorn, gopher and mole-proof!).

Lisa (& Mauro)

p.s. "Mole facts": The "bad news"...
1. Moles are digging machines. Their bodies are streamlined, and they have powerful forelimbs for moving soil. They even have large lungs and special blood to help them survive the oxygen-poor conditions underground.*2
2. With short, powerful front feet and large digging claws, moles can dig at the rate of 12 to 15 feet per hour.*3
3. A single mole can build many mounds: one Oregon mole built over 300 mounds in 11 weeks.*1
4. Moles eat 70 to 80 percent of their weight every day. They eat earthworms, grubs, and various insects.*4
5. Moles return home if they're moved; moles have crossed canals, paved roads, and even a river in order to get home. *2
"Mole facts": The "good news"...
6. Moles are not harmful to humans. *4
7. Moles do not eat roots, flower bulbs or other vegetation. *5
8. Moles are an important part of the soil ecosystem.*4
9. Moles are beneficial to gardeners due to the fact that aerate the soil and eat harmful insects that live in the soil. *4
1 Verts, B.J. and Leslie N. Carraway. 1998. Land mammals of Oregon. Berkeley : University of California Press. Pp. 68-72. 2 Hartman, G.D. and T.L. Yates. 2003. Moles: Talpidae. In Wild mammals of North America: Biology, management, and conservation. 2nd edition. G.A. Feldhammer, B.C. Thompson, and J.A. Chapman. (eds.) Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Pp. 30-55. 3 Tom Clothier's Garden Walk and Talk: When Mole Hills Become Mountains. 4 Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides: Moles 5 April Sanders: How to Get Rid of Moles

1 comment :

  1. OMG what a classic and comic tale of life with a beautiful velvety mole! Great Photo of tiny eyes and snout and huge digging feet! Bravo Mauro for your courageous adventure! And Thanks too Lisa for including MOLE FACTS. Hm. I could have told you it would return from someplace that closeby! Let us know when it comes back!