Mole traps etc.

A few weeks ago I bought 3 “humane mole traps” from Fixman (UK) via They are basically pieces of pipe with free-hanging doors at both ends, and cost US$3.50 each, so I got them for $16 with delivery – not bad. They are about 4 cm in diameter, probably too small for Townsend’s mole, larger Mogera spp. and some golden moles, but should be OK for most moles, mole-voles and small mole-rats. I tested them in an area of very high density of broad-footed moles in Chico and got 1 in 9 trap-nights in mid-May. Later the moles switched to deeper tunnels and I haven’t caught anything since.


I spent 4 hours Saturday night spotlighting by car in Central Valley grasslands west of I-5 between Willows and Orland (Northern California). There is a population explosion of California kangaroo rats; I saw dozens, particularly along Co. Rd. 35 past the end of pavement. Just after the end of pavement there is a well-worn badger trail crossing the road; I saw a female badger with 3 cubs there. Also got a juvenile Central Valley red fox and a San Joaquin pocket mouse a few miles E of Fruto on Hwy 162.


  • vnsankar

    Do you know if the Mountain PG’s and Broad-footed Moles are still seeable in Chico? I’m thinking of driving up there this weekend for the CA K-rats and Sac Valley Red Fox. I’ll probably also try to see Ringtail, Mountain Lion, and W Red Bat at a few spots up there too. Thanks!

    • vdinets

      Broad-footed moles are certainly not visible; they are now using only the deep layer of the tunnel systems. No idea about MPGs – they are on the far side of Bidwell Park, way up in the mountains.

      • vnsankar

        Ok thanks, then I won’t go to Chico. Do you know if there are any good places to look for Ringtail in the area–I recall reading that the Sacramento River riparian forests had very high densities? Also, do you know if it is possible to see Western Red Bat at this time of year too?

      • vdinets

        Sutter Buttes, but you have to go with Dave Wyatt to see them. Try emailing him, davidwyatt at

        Red bats are present year-round, try Gray Lodge Wildlife Area and the access road. The gate to the driving loop is locked after dark, but you can still walk the walking loop.

      • vnsankar

        Sorry to keep asking questions, but do you happen to know any reliable places for the Sacramento Valley Red Fox?

        • vdinets

          No, I don’t. There used to be someone at UC Davis who did research on them and kept a list of active dens, but I don’t remember his name and never met him. The highest density is in lowland grasslands west of I-5 between Willows and Red Bluff. You have to get a few miles away of I-5 to get out of orchards and into grasslands, so the choice of roads is a bit limited and you can cover them all in one night.

  • ameet

    Many years back (2001), we saw several Ringtails along Mosquito Ridge Rd. We drove out from Foresthill till the end of the road. It seemed like the Ringtails came out late at night – around midnight. We did another drive just before daybreak and saw a few again. Nice views, we saw one catch a rodent of some kind.

  • vnsankar

    Thanks Ameet and Vladimir for your advice. It will be very helpful in planning my trip (which I now think will be sometime in July, take up a full weekend, and also include some other places in the Sierra too).

    I actually found the name of a person in Davis researching the foxes (Sophie Quisquater) and emailed her. She was nice enough to tell me a spot where she sees them often near Colusa.

    I’ll try to get somewhere this weekend and report back. On the topic of elusive mammals, Tassajara Hot Springs in Monterey County reportedly has tame Western Spotted Skunks. Something I’d like to check out soon but it’s a bit far for me…

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