What critter made this hole?

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Old 08-12-13, 07:39 PM
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What critter made this hole?

We live in southern Virginia, in the front yard near the house, we have a patch of azaleas and other random flowers, no vegetables or anything and it isn't too overgrown in that area with weeds. The rain does come down off the roof so the soil can stay moist. About a month ago there was a hole that looked like a small sink hole under one of the long stemmed flowers, I filled it with dirt and thought nothing of it. About two days ago, the hole reappeared, along with another new hole that looks to be about 4 - 6 inches in diameter and seems to go down a foot or two into the ground and appears it could be a burrow. Cathy stuck a stick in the hole to see how far down it went, and says she heard a squeak, I wasn't there to hear it, but I believe her. The hole looks almost too large for a vole or a norway/roof rat, although that is what I think it is..the cat has taken a liking to sitting in the front, kind of near the hole. Also, come to think of it, about two months ago Cathy found a black rat snake moseying around that area, maybe it was interested in whatever was under the ground there. She screamed and the snake went away, neither her or I have seen it since. Any ideas on what it could be that caused that hole or how to get rid of it? Whatever it is doesn't come out in the day. I don't really want to throw poison around because we have dogs, and a cat. Other than laying out traps and hoping to catch something at night and/or filling in the holes again, I am not sure what to do? Any ideas?
 
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Old 08-13-13, 04:13 AM
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She screamed and the snake went away
Snakes can't hear, but I am sure her movement afterwards shooed the snake. I am not sure, but PAbugman will be along shortly and may can help with the ID. It could be anything from a mole to a prairie dog (ok, not in VA). The rat snake and cat are probably your best defenses since they both showed interest in it. If left to its own devices, the rat snake will venture in and handle things.
 
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Old 08-13-13, 06:53 AM
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Generally speaking, when a rodent/animal digs a hole it is more rounded off and smoother. This hole has edges around the opening and is not smooth/rounded on the bottom. Also does not appear to be any excavated dirt. My first suspicion is simply ground collapse of an old hole but we need to be ready for anything.

Pack it lightly with a ball of newspaper to see if anything pushes it out. Pack tight enough so that wind won’t suck it out but loose enough so a small rodent can push it out.

If/when you are ready to close it up, pack a rock or two in there to give a firm base; then fill with dirt, tamping as you go. Use a sprinkling can to wet the soil so it settles/packs as you go.

Opportunistic rodents, rabbits and such will use holes that they find.
 
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Old 08-13-13, 01:43 PM
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PAbugman, I will do that with the newspaper and see what happens. If the balled up paper does get pushed out, what next?

Also, something must be in there if she stuck a stick down in the hole and heard a squeak. I haven't tried to stick anything in the hole yet.

chandler, I guess I knew snakes can't hear, I am sure her flinging her arms up and jumping back made the snake go away.

I went out last night around midnight and didn't see anything, I shined a light down the hole too with no luck.
 
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Old 08-15-13, 09:08 AM
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Update - I packed the hole with balled up newspaper, let it sit for two nights, the paper was not moved. I am going to put rocks in there as suggested and fill the hole with dirt. Thanks!
 
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