SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (The Daily Dish) – Record-breaking snowfall in Utah this year has led to an increase in sightings of a small furry rodent called the vole, which is causing havoc on lawns across the state.
Voles are smaller than a gopher, about the size of a golf ball with brown or gray hair. The native rodent has been protected from predators by the abundant snow cover, allowing them to reproduce and graze on green growth.
As the snow melts, homeowners are finding holes in their lawns from the vole’s tunneling and digging. The vole is destructive and can destroy lawns and fruit trees, causing damage to high-value crops.
Utah State University Extension wildlife specialist, Terry Messmer, warns that a female vole in one year can contribute up to 30,000 young if all the young produced by her and her female offspring survive. Messmer says a female vole can breed at 90 days and produce a little of pups every 30 days.
Homeowners are advised to get rid of dead and diseased grass and use traps or call a professional to control a vole infestation. The vole is not dangerous to humans, but it can transfer diseases, so it’s important to wear protective gloves when handling them. The vole is mainly seen in northern Utah and the Salt Lake area, and in areas with more snow cover in southern Utah.