Case Studies

Wildlife Removal Case Studies: Mysterious Animal Burrow Near Home Foundation in West Allenhurst, NJ

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018 by Tom Hayes


This Allenhurst homeowner enjoys peace of mind with a Cowleys residential protection plan. At a minimum, all of Cowleys plans cover 24 common pests and provide for three preventative perimeter treatments throughout the year. I was dispatched to this customer's home for the fall home protection service. The homeowner happened to be having an issue with spiders in the basement, which was covered under our contract. After I was done, the basement spiders had spun their last web. 

However, before I was about to treat the perimeter, the homeowner pointed out an animal burrow next to the foundation right by the front door. Often I find hidden animal burrows while inspecting around the home, but this one was right out in the open. The homeowner thought that the intruder was a vole. Voles, also called meadow mice, are herbivores (vegetarians). Besides feeding on grasses, bulbs, and plants, these destructive little rodents also gnaw on tree bark. Their gnawing around the entire tree circumference is called “girdling,” and it can kill trees. Voles construct tunnels or may use old mold tunnels. They also make unsightly surface runways between burrow openings. I was skeptical that this burrow was the work of a vole. From my experience, I had never seen a vole kick up that much dirt (see photo). My sixth sense told me that this mysterious dirt-digging creature was a mole. While moles are mouse-like, they are not rodents like voles, and they do not gnaw. Moles are subterranean diggers with broad front feet. Unlike voles, moles are carnivores, eating worms, grubs, and adult insects. As a result, moles and voles are attracted to different baits. For example, a mole would have no interest in grain-based bait.



Although there were rodent bait stations around the perimeter of the home, this particular animal was not taking the bait. In circumstances like this, you are never 100% sure why the bait is left alone. Often, the animal just has no interest in eating it or is suspicious of it and instinctually  stays away. Fortunately, Cowleys has other tools in it's arsenal to take care of unwanted pests. With poor bait acceptance, I decided to use a tracking powder, a dust that adheres to the rodent’s fur and paws. Then when the animal grooms itself, it ingests a lethal dose. With tracking powders, it is important to keep non-target animals like dogs and cats away from those areas where the treatment is applied or where they could potentially find poisoned pests. In this case, I applied the powder directly into the burrow hole and then covered it to prevent non-target animals from reaching the powder. I told the homeowner to contact me if he saw any new burrowing activity. However, I’m not expecting a call anytime soon. Once this tracking powder sticks to the animal, it’s game over. Whatever burrowing creature is digging around the home — whether vole, mole, or shrew — it won’t be digging around much longer.