The Difference Between Critters and Varmints

Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

Gopher by Myrl Jeffcoat

I am convinced the difference between a varmint and a critter, is the same as the difference between a weed and a flower.  A varmint is a nuisance that is living where it isn't supposed to. . .Just like a weed!

Sometimes I don't understand Mother Nature's life mysteries.  For example, I am currently doing battle out in my backyard.  The enemy is a mole which has taken up residence under my back lawn.  

Although popular wisdom is that moles are solitary critters, I'm having a hard time wrapping my arms around that concept based on the amount of destruction this little guy is supposedly doing all by himself.  The lawn looks like it has been napalmed.  

I have been trying to locate and chase down this illusive little monster for several weeks now.  All to no avail.  Why won't this little varmint show himself?

I am reminded of a local park, where a resident gopher (photo above) had the entrance to his tunnel right next to a picnic table.  He would poke his head out periodically and allow park visitors to feed him a few bites and take his picture.

The gopher was really cute.  I couldn't have harmed him even if I had found him in my own yard.  But the unseen mole, with residence just under my lawn will be history if I can find him.  Does anyone have a clue how I might do that?


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William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

BTW, I loved that photo and I also hit the suggest button. This is such a fun ( for us- not for you) story and at least there is a chance that someone besides me has a solution to share. LMAO. 

Jul 10, 2011 04:44 AM #20
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Not to be a pest but I thought I would add something else. In our phone conversations, I can hear you laugh and it tickles me so much and I am guessing that you are probably doing that about now. Laughing makes the heart stay strong and perhaps that will be needed before this saga is over. :-)

This is from " Tips On Helping People Without Them Knowing It"  by William Johnson, hehehe

Jul 10, 2011 04:50 AM #21
Lisa Wetzel
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Carson City, NV

Myrl - we got Bobcat urine from a company on the Internet.  It creates a smell that makes them think a predator is around and they stay clear of our lawn and our garden.  Has worked very well for us!

Jul 10, 2011 06:38 AM #22
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


I can sympathize right now. I've got the worst of both worlds in my yard right now. Moles, which are carniverous, and voles, which are vegetarians. The moles are doing a lot of destructions, and the voles are eating all the roots of the plants.

Can't catch any of them either.


Jul 10, 2011 06:55 AM #23
Maria Morton
Chartwell Kansas City Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

Myrl, try treating your lawn for grubs. Often, that is what attracts the moles. Once the grubs are gone, the mole may move on to your neighbors' lawns for food.

Jul 10, 2011 07:00 AM #24
Chris Alston
Chris Alston (Keller Williams Realty, Silicon Valley, California) - Campbell, CA
Silicon Valley, California

Varmits for me are: Gophers, rabbits, coyotes...  Just sayen!

Jul 10, 2011 07:43 AM #25
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


In the last house we lived we were besieged with mole, come to think of it our Napa hill was also mole full.  One of our cats LOLA was an excellent mole huntress, as she had the patience to wait for them to appear.  Her replacement ZOE does as well also.  The best thing to do that kept them at bay, as they eat plant roots (you can watch a rose keel over) is to surroung the roots in wire cages/mesh.  Whatever roots stick out, it won't be the tap root or the integral part of the plant.  On a lawn, you actuall lay down the mesh, cover with a couple of inches of soil prior to planting.....Lots of work, but they won't show up.  A

Jul 10, 2011 08:39 AM #26
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Ann - The gopher was cute.  He entertained a group of us with his antics.

William - I have a cat.  But it won't chase anything.  I "inherited" the cat from my daughter who was living in Reno, near a lady that had a bird sanctuary.  The cat while with my daughter was a menace at the sanctuary.  Now that the cat has been relocated to my yard, it will often lounge on the patio table next to its food bowl.  Blue Jays come and eat out of the bowl too, but the cat just lays there, and doesn't seem to mind.  I think it is because food is always in the bowl and rarely goes empty.  The cat is now willing to share:-)   You are right about laughter making the heart strong!  This mole in my yard - not so much!

Lisa - I have heard about that repellent for deer.  I might try that to see if it will work for moles.

Jul 10, 2011 01:52 PM #27
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Rich - I never knew what a vole was until a few years ago.  They look a little like a hampster at first glance because of the shorter tail.  I have some of those too.  If you have moles and voles, I sympathize with you!

Maria - I have made up my mind to begin Chemical Warfare tomorrow morning.  I hate doing that, but I am at the end of my rope.  If that fails, I will call in an exterminator.

Chris - I fully understand.  The "varmints" category can vary depending on where you live and what you are dealing with as a nuisance.

Alexandra - I am convinced that the right cat is worth its weight in gold when it comes to hunting down these varmints.  When my ole black cat, Sabu, was living, he would rack them up in a neat little pile on the Welcome mat at the front door, just to prove he loved me:-)

Jul 10, 2011 01:58 PM #28
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Myrl I have a similar problem, I suppose the answer is professional help.  I hope you find a solution.

Jul 10, 2011 04:57 PM #29
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives


If you get Antonio on the set, I want to be there - I will wipe the sweat off that man's forehead. Oh, I'm panting already!

Jul 10, 2011 05:50 PM #30
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

You certainly found a good topic for discussion and I like the picture.  Convert the pests into pets.

 Life is good!

Jul 11, 2011 01:17 AM #31
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Jennifer - I have one more trick up my sleeve, and if that fails, I will call in the big guns:-)

Patricia - I will only allow that if I can man the fanning of his brow:-)

Roy - The gopher pictured was more of a pet than a pest.  But he knew his place - Not my yard, but a nearby park:-)

Jul 11, 2011 02:42 AM #32
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Mryl - I've had a mole problem in the past and not only are they a nuisance, they are so ugly! However, I too think Gophers (we call them ground hogs in NJ) are so cute that they don't bother me and aren't too destructive. Good luck with your mole problem and your picture is so cute!

Jul 11, 2011 05:02 AM #33
John Cannata
214-728-0449 - Frisco, TX
Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance

I have not had this problem, so cant tell you how to get rid of that little guy. We have a lot of Rabbits, but they dont do too much damage with the exception of a tunnel under my fence. Plus when they are in the yard, my dog is eager to get out and greet it (sometimes its greet 'them' because the little guy invites friends over). Good luck to you!

Jul 11, 2011 10:30 AM #34
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Kristine - Moles freak me out too!  It's something about them having hair everywhere, but their little hands being bare skinned. . .And what's up with that snout for a nose:-)

John - When you talk about the rabbit tunneling under your fence, I get a vision from the Travolta movie, "Phenomena". . . :-)

Jul 11, 2011 12:14 PM #35
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
26 Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

I think once you get to know him, Myrl, you won't want to harm him either. He'll be so cute and sweet. Good luck!

Cute picture of the gopher.

Jul 12, 2011 12:41 AM #36
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Myrl, we had one but I believe our dog chased him away...he was always down sniffing and barking...perhaps the mole got tired of the dog.  Like the responses and some I will keep like how to get rid of snakes.  My last listing had a bat in her house and they looked everywhere for it...found it on the middle level window on her drapes. The lawnman helped her and had a pair of heavy gloves got the bat and released it outdoors.  The owner of the house did call an exterminator and was told that bats are an endangered species and could not be killed unless it was causing harm...she just wanted the darn thing out of her B&B.

Jul 12, 2011 04:48 PM #37
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Myrl--I live in the country so I deal with lots of critters.  I haven't called them varmints, yet.  I think that is because I accept them as part of living in the country.  One year I trapped 20+ mice in my basement, attic and back hall entrance.  That was an all time time high.  I just make Dave empty the traps.

My husband's family uses the traps and takes the critters to the cemetary down the road.

We have an exterminator treat our house for carpenter ants and bees occasionally, but the bigger critters . . . live on.

Good luck.

Jul 13, 2011 01:31 AM #38
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

OK, the best and easiest way I've ever seen to get rid of moles is glass Coke bottles. Put them in the holes upside down and in days your moles are gone. They can't dig through the glass, they get frustrated and leave.

Jul 20, 2011 05:36 PM #39
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Myrl Jeffcoat

Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent
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