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Possible mole or some other critter attacking potato patch

 
pioneer
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Although my potato patch is doing fine, I recently saw a critter navigate its way underneath the grass clippings I use for mulching them. I didn't see it, perhaps it was a chipmunk. Anyway, yesterday I did catch a glimpse of something, I think it was a mole, but it ran a bit above ground and disappeared before I got a good look.

My question, the potatoes seem to be adversely affected by something in one corner of the patch. The leaves are fine, but the vines are getting eaten from below. I think something may be munching on the tubers or roots underneath?

I immediately thought of mothballs as a repellent, but upon looking up the safety and wisdom of such methods got deluged with sites warning me that mothballs are a toxic menace and shouldn't be used (might even be illegal.)

Any ideas on repelling pests from my taters? This is my first year growing them.  
 
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How big was this creature?  A mole is about 4.5" to 5"?

We have had several discussions on voles, which are smaller.

If I remember correctly most everyone said to use mouse traps.

Maybe if yours is a mole you will need rat traps.
 
pollinator
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Moles are carnivores, so they won't be eating your potatoes anyway. They make a mess digging stuff up sometimes. If you saw it above ground, I suspect it's a vole. They're dumb and easy to trap.
 
Paul Sofranko
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Thanks for replying; I'm going to have to explore the Permies fora and look into repelling voles. Just on a hunch and my wife's suggestion to investigate what's going on below ground, I started digging up one row. Pfffft. Something took bites out of many of the potatoes, while others hadn't grown much bigger than the seed taters they started out as. I have two rows left; one row from seed potatoes that looks as bad as the one I just dug up and another that dos far looks OK. That row was sure potatoes my sis-in-law gave me to “see what we might get.“

I may just punt and dig the whole caboodle up; there's still some time left for a few rows of beans and peas and whatnot.

I may try planting taters in garbage cans next year; we have a bunch in various conditions that we don't use for actual garbage. I've always wanted to try that.
 
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Here that sort of damage is voles or watervoles the way to tell the difference is to mess with their tunnel, a vole will re open a closed hole, a watervole closes an open hole. The solution to both is a trap, we have one's that go into the tunnel so can only catch things there. Cats work well to! Last year we lost half a greenhouse of potatoes to a single watervole. Remember to check laws. Here watervoles are vermin but I know that in other places they are protected.(this last bit is aimed at anyone else who finds this thread while looking for solutions)
 
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