We have many rodents native to Illinois. Most go unnoticed, but a few can become pests when they invade yards, homes, or businesses. Mice and moles are very common, but some other possible nuisance rodents are voles, shrews, rats, and thirteen-lined ground squirrels.
Voles invade yards and dig snake-like trails through the lawn and landscaping. They also make little round holes the size of a quarter under concrete steps/decks/air conditioning units, etc. (and in mulched areas). They eat the roots of plants, often killing the plants and destroying landscaping.
Shrews look similar to mice, but have long cone like snouts. There are many species that are indigenous to Illinois, which be divided into four groups: the long-tailed shrews, the short-tailed shrews, the swimming or marsh shrews, and the "small" shrews. The shrew, like the skunk, has anal glands by means of which it can emit an unpleasant musky odor which repels many of its enemies. Shrews have enormous appetites and are known to eat more than their body weight each day. They eat not only insects and plant foods, but also prey on mice and other small animals. The shrew can and does burrow like a mole but the ridge above its shallow tunnel is smaller and lacks the occasional humps seen here and there on a mole "run". Because of their ferocious appetites this can put a lot of tunnels in your yard. Shrews will also follow the tunnels of mice, and can find their way into your home, which because of their pungent smell, will not go unnoticed for long. They will also kill and eat any mice, which may also leave behind foul odors.
Rats are a destructive pest found in urban and suburban neighborhoods, in our area you will find the Norway rat, also called the brown rat or sewer rat). These rodents eat and contaminate food, damage buildings and other property by their gnawing and burrowing, and may spread diseases that affect people and pets.
Thirteen-lined ground squirrels are 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 inches long, with a tail that is 2 1/2 to 5 inches long. The body is light to dark brown, with 13 stripes down its back. The stripes alternate between light and dark with light dots. They are longer than chipmunks, and do not have the white stripes on the face like they do. Thirteen-lined ground squirrels live in short grasslands and weedy areas. This squirrel needs to see over the top of the grass when it stands on its hind legs. Any area that is mowed is ideal for them. They are naturally attracted to wide open lawns, golf courses, cemeteries, parks, roadsides, and airport land. Because ground squirrels spend most of their lives below ground, they build extensive burrows. The squirrels dig burrows without a mound of soil at the entrance. They spread the soil around and pat it down with their feet and the top of their head.
If you are having a wildlife problem with any of the above rodents, or even if you do not know what type of animal is causing the problems, please contact us for a quote and expert inspection.
Three 13-Lined Ground Squirrels awaiting relocation into their new home in the wild.
meadow vole (left) and prairie voles(right)
least shrew (left) and short tailed shrew (right)
Thirteen-Lined Ground Squirrel
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