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Animal Damage Reference Guide

It can be difficult to determine what type of animal is causing damage to a yard, landscape or garden. Below are some animal facts that may help you identify what animal is causing the problem.

Deer Damage:  Deer damage can be severe, resulting in heavy loss of plants and trees. Your hard labored garden can be decimated in no time from hungry deer. Deer damage can be identified in many ways. They feed and graze on trees, vegetables, flowers, typically stripping new growth often destroying and killing the plant. New bark, saplings, leaves, shrubs and trees are especially susceptible in winter months when other food sources maybe scarce. Protecting vegetation during the winter months is especially important to maintain healthy plants. Male buck deer damage trees by rubbing their antlers on tree trunks and low hanging branches. Deer leave a smooth cut on one edge and a jagged cut on the other if they bite with their incisors or a frayed end if they use their cheek teeth. An adult deer typically requires approximately 5 – 7 pounds of food each day!

Rabbit Damage:  Rabbits are mammals that live in groups known as a ‘colony’ or a ‘nest’. They build their home in underground burrows, or rabbit holes. Rabbits are one of the most common pest homeowners and property managers’ face. Rabbit gestation period is only 30 days, and usually have litters of between 4 and 12 offspring. Rabbits feed by grazing on grass, flowers and leafy plants. Rabbits are mainly nocturnal, grazing late in the afternoon to into the evening. Rabbits graze close to their burrows, producing short ‘lawns’ along field edges. Rabbits and hares leave a smooth, sloping cut when feeding on twigs.

Cat Damage: Feral cats and stray cats are both members of the same species, they are domestic “raised in captivity”. Cat urine is a big problem for homeowners and property managers. Cat urine can burn grass, resulting in a dead, brown patches. Cats can damage gardens and flowerbeds by digging up the soft, loose soil, burying their droppings. When digging, cats disturb freshly planted seeds and plants. Stray and feral cats can scratch or damage painted surfaces of cars, boats and or appliances.

Dog Damage: Stray dogs can devastate a lawn, especially when allowed to roam. They cause damage by digging, depositing droppings and urinating on grass, flowers, shrubs and structures. Signs of dog damage can also be identified by the trampling of plants.

Mole Damage: Moles are small dark colored mammals with light fur. Moles live in burrows usually dug in moist soil where grubs and worms are plentiful. The burrows are connected with feeding runways that very in depth from 4 to 30 inches. Mole mounds are created when moles dig up to the surface depositing surplus soil. Moles permanently damage plant roots through their tunneling and excavating. Moles typically average about (2) per acre. A single mole may construct from 25 to 150 mounds in a single month. Mole tunnels may run along a driveway, foundation or other fixed border. Mole runs will often feel soft or even spongy when you step or walk over them. Moles eat 70-100 percent of their body weight each day!

Vole Damage: Voles are social animals that live in colonies. They make their homes in gardens and flowerbeds throughout rural and suburbia America. Voles inhabit grassy areas but nest underground in burrows. Voles can also be found in dense vegetation, hay or even mulch. Voles are like moles in that they dig narrow runways or tunnels that lead away from their nesting areas to their source of food. Voles feed day and night on roots, seeds, bulbs, vegetables, and flowers. Vole runs will often feel soft or even spongy when you step or walk over them.

Snake Damage: Most people consider snakes to be a pest species. There are several ways to identify the presence of snakes. In most cases, owners identify the presents of snakes through a visual observation. Snake poop may sometimes be visible. Snake poop looks like dog poop but much smaller, about 1/10th of the size. Snakes shed their outer skin, so depending on the time of year, this may be visible. Snakes can make a home under decks, foundations and crawl spaces. Tall weeds or grass are great places for snakes to hide.