Swamp Harvest Pest - Ground Rat

Swamp Harvest Pest - Ground Rat

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An earth (or water) rat is big trouble for any farmer or a gardener.

Very often in the spring, under the snow, you can find not even rows of overwintered beds, but dug ground with many holes.

Rodent reproduces very quickly, and therefore, some time after the appearance, begins to arrange raids on sheds and other auxiliary buildings.

The appearance of an earthen rat and photo

The ground rat is a large rodent pest, but in fact it is not a rat. In fact, this is a vole mouse, more precisely, the largest species of this family (we talked about the vole species here).

The animal has a size from 16.5 to 22 cm (of which the tail is 6-13 cm) and body weight from 180 to 380 grams.

The body is massive, with a large head and a blunt muzzle, small, almost invisible ears... The tail is round, long, covered with fine hair.

In winter, the coat is thick and long, in summer it is short and sparse. Rats differ in the type of hair, living in different habitats or different ages.

Back colors - dark brown, with various shades, the belly is off-white. Sometimes they meet completely black animals.

The toes on the forepaws are short, ending in long, slightly curved claws. The hind legs are extended. Swims great.

Vivid photos of an earthen rat:

Distribution and reproduction

The ground rat can be found in the European part of the country, in the Caucasus, in Siberia (except for the regions of the Far North). A large number of rodents are concentrated in the south of Siberia and Central Asia.

For life selects wet places - along the banks of reservoirs, swamps and damp meadows. With a high population size, it can inhabit gardens, fields and vegetable gardens.

During floods, it migrates, moving to drier and more convenient places for life.

REFERENCE! Often lives in settlements, settling in personal plots and creating passages in thin walls and under the floor.

In the southern regions, under comfortable conditions, the earthen rat can breed all year round. In other places, the process occurs from spring to autumn, two or three times.

The number of individuals in the offspring depends on the lifetime of the animal - the older the female, the more she can bring cubs... The offspring are hatched underground, in a separate equipped place.

Upon reaching the age of one month, young animals begin to live independently.

Under optimal conditions, the number of the earthen rat grows several times, and their number can reach 400 animals per hectare fields.


The rodent exhibits activity all year round, spends almost all the time underground in winter. By the time of day, the greatest activity is concentrated in the evening and at night.

It crawls out of the burrow only for a short period of time, moving away to a small distance - as a rule, while eating plants on the ground.

During the hottest summer and winter clogs burrows from the inside... The earth generated by digging passages is thrown to the surface, forming small flat piles of different sizes and at different distances from the exit point.

Underground passages are located 10-15 cm from the ground surface... The nest usually consists of an extensive network of labyrinths, a nest chamber, and several storage depots.

REFERENCE! If moles live near the habitat of the earthen rat, then they can use the ready-dug passages of the latter in order to quickly get to the roots and tubers.

Differences from other rodents

From the gray rat earthen has a soft coat and a shorter tail without annular scales.

They differ from moles in the smaller size of the underground passages, which, moreover, have an irregular shape. Also, rats do not hibernate in winter.

The tracks are similar to those of the gray voles, but have a long stride length - 6-8 cm.

Harm to the human farmer and how to fight

Breaking holes, immediately eats all the food encountered. The ground rat most of all destroys alfalfa, also causes significant damage to rice during the ripening period, cotton, wheat, barley, some melons, including watermelons and melons.

Also damages young trees, gnawing them underground at the root collar or seriously nibbling the bark - especially often "gets" bird cherry, apple trees, willow.

Eats small animals - field mice, crayfish, molluscs, insects and others (read about what voles eat in the steppe, forest, meadow, read here). Deftly swims and climbs treesdestroying bird nests.

It can settle in human dwellings, where it eats food and feed. Can gnaw through adobe walls and make tunnels under floors.

Natural enemies of the earthen rat are dogs, cats, jackals, foxes, weasels and many other predatory species, as well as birds - owls, eagles, harriers.

REFERENCE! The methods of struggle are different, and they can be conditionally divided into radical ones, when the goal is the complete destruction of the rodent, and humane, if you need to drive the rat out of its habitat.

Initially, all methods are divided into:

  • Mechanical devices - this includes all kinds of traps, traps, scarers;
  • Animals - several cats in the area where earthen rats live will not be able to overfill the entire population, but they are able to scare away rodents and force them to leave their habitat;
  • Chemical substances - spraying of poisonous gases is used: carbon monoxide, chlorine, or substances are sprayed onto the soil, licking which the rat will die.

Radical methods - traps and poisons are used when there is not much time to scare away. However, it should be borne in mind that rats are intelligent animals, and will not approach the mechanism if they see that someone has died in it.

In addition, drastic methods can also harm other animals and plants in the vicinity.

Humane methods involve repelling rodents:

  • Ultrasonic scarers - installation of ultrasound generating devices at the site. It happens that some rodents do not respond to it, and also adapt to a constant stimulus;
  • Smoking out - substances that produce a pungent unpleasant odor are placed in burrows. It can be burnt wool, bunches of wormwood or mint. One of the interesting ways out is to plant a black elderberry on the site, the roots of which release cyanides into the ground, which are poisonous to rats;
  • Filling holes with water - earthen rats swim well, however, they will have to leave such a habitat.

IMPORTANT! You do not need to hesitate when you find an earthen rat on the site, you must choose how to get rid of it yourself, but you cannot let things go by themselves - the more time passes, the more their population becomes, which means it will be more difficult to completely get rid of the rodents.


The ground rat is a dangerous rodent that settles on the banks of rivers, swamps, as well as in vegetable gardens and fields. Lives underground, where he digs labyrinthine passages.

Destroys plantings rice, barley, wheat, cotton, young trees. Rodent control methods are varied, and are divided into radical (traps, poisonous gases and baits) and humane (scarers, damage to burrows).


In the video, you can clearly see the earthen rat in the water:

Watch the video: Farm Scale Drought-Proofing: Water Harvesting for Land Regeneration with Permaculture Design (May 2022).