Mole rat - a mysterious pest
Mole rat. It will destroy the tulips, then it will be the boss of a potato bed - spring is in the yard, and it spoils the mood!
Mole rats (Spalax) - a genus of mammals of the family mole rats of the order Rodents, leading an underground lifestyle. It has about 4 species.
What kind of beast is this, mole rat?
In a way of life, a mole rat is similar to a mole: it lives exclusively underground, digs long systems of moves, pushes excess soil to the surface, forming unsightly mounds. But in general, this is a completely different animal, distinguished by its appearance, body structure, behavior, and even the nature of its harmfulness ...
Mole rats are small animals up to 30-32 cm long, without ears, without a pronounced neck, with atrophied eyes hidden under the skin, a very small inconspicuous tail and short gray fur. Unlike moles that feed on insects, animals feed on plant foods — they eat rhizomes, roots, tubers, and bulbs. To get to the aerial part of the plants, drag them by the root into the hole. Bean, umbrella, and asteraceae are especially fond of. Stems and leaves are eaten mainly in spring and early summer.
The system of moves of mole rats is tiered. The first tier is food, located at a depth of 20-25 cm from the soil surface. The second one includes connecting tunnels, summer and winter nests, supply stores, located at a depth of 3-4 m.
If moles loosen the soil with their front paws, then mole rats with powerful incisors. Yes, and heaps of land in the "molehills" more than moles. The soil ejected to the surface reaches a mass of up to 10 kg and forms mounds with a diameter of about 50 cm.
Mole rats prefer isolation. In a collision, the males fight until they are left alive. But at the same time, for each male there are 1-2 females with whom they are adjacent in the breeding season. An area of 1 ha can simultaneously be inhabited by 3 to 20 (and sometimes more) animals.
The most active period in the life of animals is March, April and May. By the summer, and then in the winter, their vital activity is significantly reduced, but they do not fall into hibernation.
The habitat of mole rat
The Slepyshev family has four species. Each of them has its own habitat, but in general animals are found in the zone of steppes, forest-steppes, semi-deserts, deserts, and very rarely on the outskirts of forests. Prefer soils of moderate density, avoid clay soils and sands. Do not live in particularly humid places and in salt marshes.
Harm from mole rats
The harmfulness of mole rats is quite large. It is connected with their habits: mounds of land violate the aesthetic appearance of park areas, complicate work in fields, hayfields and in garden areas. Eating plants destroys planting, destroys flower beds.
Potatoes, corn, onions, legumes, carrots, fodder and sugar beets are most affected by the animal. For one day, one animal damages from 4 to 6 root bushes.
In some regions, animals destroy about 20% of the beet crop, 10% of corn crops and about 15% of potato crops. In stocks of one mole rat, up to 18 kg of these valuable crops are found.
Measures to control mole rats
Measures to combat mole rats coincide with measures to combat moles. However, as in the second case, they are often ineffective and require perseverance.
In particular, repetitive deep digging of the soil, destroying the feed systems of their passages, helps to get rid of pests. Fighting off odors. Using purchased repellers.
You can catch mole rats by hand. To do this, you need to identify a freshly dug hole, find another entrance and dig it. The animal does not tolerate drafts and therefore, most likely, will try to correct the destroyed course, at this moment it will be possible to catch it.
They drive the animal out of the hole and with the help of water. To do this, find a mole rat hill mixed with clay, this is the entrance to the hole with a nest, and fill it.
In some sources there are recommendations for the use of traps, but those who came across an animal claim that the mole rat somehow recognizes them and cleverly bypasses them.