Worm tracks????

slowpoke_gardenerNovember 27, 2012

I have strange lines in my soil, mainly after a light rain. I want to say "worm tracks". It looks like something was dragging it's tail, but I dont see foot prints. Another thing that seems strange is, I see these in the morning and they look much fresher, but it seems much too cold for an insect to out at night.

Any Idea what I am seeing?

Thanks Larry.

P.S. That is a 3" deck screw in the picture.

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Larry, when I see long, narrow tracks like that in our soil or even in the gravel in the driveway, it usually indicates armadillos have been around. Their tail can drag when they walk, and the drag marks from the tail basically 'erase' their tracks/footprints. If you're seeing these marks at the same time you see freshly dug holes in the ground, I bet it is armadillos, which are nocturnal for the most part.

If you don't have the holes that armadillos dig when looking for food, then I don't know what those long drag marks are from. I've never seen earthworms leave tracks so can't say whether they do or don't. Maybe really large nightcrawlers do?

They also could be the tail marks left by really large rodents.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 8:45AM
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Dawn, thanks. I do have large night-crawlers and Armadillos. I see worm tracks often when we have had a lot of rain and soil becomes saturated and drives many of them up out of the soil, but we have not had that much rain in a long time, this garden has not had any mud in it in months. This is in the south garden where I had a huge insect problem this year. Out past the garden edge where the sweet potato vines grew there in a lot of mounds that sorta look like ant hills. When I have armadillos I find dig holes and three pointed foot prints.

Thanks, Larry

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:24AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Larry, Since armadillos cannot get into my fenced garden, I generally only see their holes in the grass lawn or their tail drag marks in the gravel driveway. I almost never see footprints for that reason--the clay ground where the lawn is never has enough moisture that anything leaves tracks in it. I did see footprints one year when I left the garden gate open and one got into the fenced garden. It promptly dug a very deep burrow underneath a raised bed...going in from the side pathway, and I had a heck of a time getting him (or her) out of there.

We have not had substantial rain in a long time so our soil is so hard that you'd think the armadillos couldn't dig it at all, but they do. However, I did water the lawn for a few weeks when we overseeded with winter rye in October so that did soften up the ground enough for the dillos to dig.

Our rainfall for the last 30 days is less than 20% of average. We are having pretty heavy frost on most mornings, so that is a small bit of moisture and I guess it is better than nothing, but it is just barely better than nothing. I have a general gut feeling that we will see very little precipitation for the rest of the year.

We do have ant hills. They popped up a month or two ago when we had an inch of rain. I've been scattering organic fire ant killer on those mounds whenever I run across one. They are more common right now in my garden veggie garden soil than in the yard in general.

Our last pond is down to only a few inches of water and it looked pretty stagnant and brackish when I checked the water level yesterday. All the wildlife goes there to drink, so I'm going to have to drag out the two child-sized wading pools today and put them down by that pond and fill them with the water hose. I did that all of last summer but hadn't used them much this year. For the last two months, I have been filling small wildlife watering holes in the ground with the hose every few days. Lots of birds, coons, armadillos and other small critters drink from those small fairly shallow depressions but the deer and larger animals prefer to drink from the deeper pond or, when it dries up, from the wading pools.

Every now and then I fill up a small overflow pond next to the lily pond with water. At most, it holds about 6" of water. When I fill it up, the cardinals and other birds splash, bathe and play for hours. They seem about as starved for water as the ground and plants.

This is a rough year, waterwise. I hope next year is better.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 10:10AM
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I don't know about the tracks, but the hole looks like some I have seen in the garden built by a ground dwelling insect that looks waspy. Oklahoma Gardening showed them a while back. I don't know if you could find them on the website or not. And I can't remember the name of them.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:36PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Dorothy, Maybe the wasp like creatures were cicada killer wasps? They live in the ground and come out of holes similar to the one in Larry's photo. Normally cicada killer wasps overwinter in cocoons in the ground in the winter and emerge around June.

We had ground hornets in Texas, but haven't had them here. Whatever Larry's holes are, we had them this summer, but I never once saw anything coming or going from them, which made me wonder if whatever lived in those holes was nocturnal.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 8:42AM
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That's right. They are cicada killers. I have seen them in our garden, but I'm not sure they made holes exactly like Larry's, now that I think about it. It seems to me that the holes went in at an angle and the dirt was piled up in a long area on one side away from the direction of the hole. Larry, do you have a motion detector night camera? It would be cool to get a picture.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I would love to have a motion detector night camera but, based on previous wildlife encounters on this property, I am afraid that if I could see everything that roams around here at night, I might be afraid to leave the house. : )

Today I came across feral hog tracks about 120' west of the house. I am not happy about that.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:22PM
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I have been entertaining the idea of getting a motion game camera. My son has one and gets some petty interesting pictures in his back yard. I know I have deer, possums, rabbits and armadillos, I may not want to know any more than that.

Maybe after deer season they will go on sale.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:54AM
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I just thought I would check back in. I raked the garden smooth yesterday, erasing all tracks and holes. This morning when I went out to check, I found more holes and tracks. I also found a very large grub worm when I was racking yesterday. I have no idea if the holes, tracks(grooves) and grub worm are related.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 4:02PM
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