Voles mate throughout the entire year but most frequently in spring and summer. Females can produce about 3-5 litter and and reproduce 12 times a year. Each litter consists of about 3-6 pups and their gestation periods are 21 days long. When pups are born they have no hair and are completely blind. They must depend on their mothers for the first two weeks of their lives, and reach maturity after just 3-5 weeks. At this time they can reproduce and have their own litters. Most pups die within the first week but those who survive live for about 3-6 months.
Every animal has their own form of communication. Just like human voices animals chirps, yelps, etc. all have different pitches or calls that help identify them. Ground squirrels in particular use a variety of chirps as well as body language to communicate with others. These chirps can be used to show dominance, protect territory, and warn their young of danger. Ground squirrels also use mating calls that are high-pitched in order to attract males.
We often see raccoons wash their food before consuming it. This is not because the food it dirty, but actually to figure out what they are consuming. Raccoons rely heavily on their sense of touch for many things. Their paws have many nerves, these nerves get enhanced when exposed to water. When raccoons dip their paws in water their nerves react more effectively than before. By washing their food they get more details on what it is and whether its safe to eat simply by sense of touch.
Everyone knows what raccoons look like. They are characterized by gray-brown fur, what looks like a black mask around their eyes, a white ring around the mask, a stripe from its head to snout, and a ringed tail. What you may not know is the reason for some of these defining features. The black mask surrounding their eyes help reduce sun glare; similar to sunglasses. Their ringed tails, also help them escape from predators. Since raccoons are nocturnal hunters, their predators are likely to attack at night when they are most active. The white rings on their tails are easiest for predators to spot in low-light. This could be used to trick predators, as they will now attack the tail of the animal, leaving their most vital parts protected. That gives them the best chance to flee even if injured; as their tail isn't needed to escape a predator.
Mice have thick hairs on either side of their snout called whiskers. Their whiskers are attached to many nerves and help them move and detect their surroundings. Mice have poor eyesight and have to rely on touch, smell, and other senses like those of their whiskers to navigate. Whiskers help mice sense air movement, temperature, air pressure, food, and anything they touch. They sense these through vibrations which allows them to determine the size, shape, and distance of an object without actually seeing it. This means they can navigate almost any space no matter the lighting or size of the area. They can easily enter homes through small cracks in walls or openings in doors. They can live in attics, basements, walls, soffits, or other spaces. If you find or suspect mice in your home call Guardian Wildlife Services. We can set you up with our rodent program to get rid of them for good.
All animals have defenses they use against predators. Opossums are often known for their ability to play dead. When threatened these animals seize and fall into a comatose state for many hours. They have no control over when or how long this may last. The reaction is triggered by stress and unavoidable for the animal. While in this state, opossums also emit a foul-odor to even smell like a corpse. In combination with their acting the odor also tricks predators into seeking food elsewhere. If you see an opossum lying dead on the ground they may just be acting. Do not approach the animal or attempt to move it as they may carry disease or defend themselves. If you smell a decaying animal or find an opossum in your home, call Guardian Wildlife Services.
Voles are often found on land but you may find some taking a swim in rivers, marshes, or streams. They create burrows for shelter and often have an opening near or below the waterline, which gives them a quick way to escape from predators. Voles mainly feed on vegetation and can live underground for extended periods of time due to this fact. They also feed on insects which can once again be found in their underground burrows. These voles can spend their time in the water, on land, or underground. Water voles are often mistaken for small muskrats or brown rats.
When we think of squirrels we often think of trees and nuts. Not every squirrel nests in trees though. Some may occupy abandoned burrows, buildings, or maybe even the underside of decks. One of these squirrels are ground squirrels. Compared to normal tree squirrels, ground squirrels have shorter and less bushy tails. This is because they do not need the added weight for balance when climbing trees. Instead they often find unoccupied spaces to create homes or they may dig a series of underground tunnels as their personal shelter. These tunnels are complex and often have many entrances. Ground squirrel burrows are often a nuisance to farmers and landscapers as they leave big mound and holes in the dirt. If you see these popping up in your yard you may have a ground squirrel problem. They will not only ruin your yard but could damage your home, crops, flowers, and often bird feeders. If you suspect this is an issue call Guardian Wildlife Services!