What's causing these big sandpiles?

rvird01November 19, 2011

We have lived in Florida for 3 years and have never had this problem before. We live in the sandhills with pine forests in North Central Florida. In just one day something has made at least 15 sand piles about 1 foot high and 2-3 feet wide all around the property. There are no holes in the piles, it's as if they have been pushed up from below. We have gopher tortoises, so I know what their burrows look like but that's not what did these.

Could it be armadillos? As I said, no holes, even when I push the piles down. I'll also post on the nature forum. Thanks for any help or suggestions.

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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 3:43PM
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Fire ants dig deeper into the ground in the winter and can make some pretty big mounds. I always loved killing them with Amdro in the fall, because it was so easy to see where they were, and they were gathering food for winter.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 4:41PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

They are pocket gophers...there is no hole in the mound as the gophers close it up behind them. Pretty sure if they were fire ant mounds the millions of ants in the mound would be a giveaway:)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 9:39PM
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Thanks for the info. I just researched the pocket gopher and that's it. I have only native plantings, nothing formal, and according to UF websites, they are beneficial to the sandhills ecosystem. So, I'll keep an eye on the activity and hopefully won't have to trap them.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 12:29PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Mine left after a few months. We don't have a formal yard either. I hate to kill anything.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 4:19PM
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I also have these big mounds of sand in my yard and vegetable garden. At first I thought that it was from a turtle but one day I saw the critter. Gopher. What do they eat? Hopefully not plant roots.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 8:51PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

They eat plant roots, tubers....

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 7:22AM
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Thank you for posting your question. I learned a lot by researching for the link below.
The link has photos and information you might enjoy.

From UF:
The southeastern pocket gopher, Geomys pinetis, is also known as the sandy-mounder in Florida.

Unfortunately, there are no chemical repellents known to be effective against gophers. Vibrating devices have not been proven to repel gophers. Reports that Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum kills gophers by blocking their digestive tracts have been proven to be false. Finally, tunnel flooding has been used successfully in other parts of the country. However, this method usually does not work here since the southeastern pocket gopher is restricted to deep, well-drained sandy soils in Florida.

Here is a link that might be useful: Southeastern Pocket Gopher

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 7:34AM
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judyk_2008(9 DeLeon Sprs)

I have to say that the Wrigley's gum method worked for me. Well, in a way. It attracted a dog we had to the tunnels, she then started catching them for us. Six days in a row I had a dead one on my patio. Of course my yard was dug up pretty bad. Unfortunetly, it hasn't worked with any other dog I've had.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 10:30AM
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Thanks for the responses :) It appears that it must have moved on down the road as we haven't had any new mounds for a week.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 9:48PM
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Those look like earth zits to me....
Dab on a little bit of Clearasil and they will clear right up.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 1:26PM
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In N. Florida we call the tortoise "gopher". We call the gopher "sandy mounder" or "Salamander". We call a salamander "scorpion".
Take that, northerners!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 7:34PM
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Well, the gopher seems to have moved on but left me a welcome gift: tunnels for my first burrowing owl :). I saw him/her the other evening and it hopped around on the ground before flying up to a low branch. I watched it for 15 minutes before I headed in and it was still there when I went in.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 6:36PM
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Gopher pics...my husband got one!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 7:50PM
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We had gophers when we lived in the Mojave...same sandy conditions. We tried all the common methods and none were successful...BUT an old-timer told us a trick that worked. Human hair, of all things. Along the food chain, man is a predator.

Find their airhole or take a bamboo plant stake and poke around near the mound for the tunnel. Save the hair from your comb/brush and when the mounds appear, stick a big wad of your hair in the tunnel.

Funny thing is, when I asked my hairdresser for the hair she'd swept from the floor she said...oh, you've got gophers, huh?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 3:49PM
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Interesting, barbwire. I've heard of that for snakes. A few years ago a neighbor strewed the clippings from her hair salon everywhere, but I can say for sure that it just intrigued them rather than repelling them.

Maybe it works better for mammals.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 10:52AM
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