Mystery digger

Finding land, working a small plot or anything else countryside related
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Funasshi
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Mystery digger

Postby Funasshi » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:27 am

Hi all
Recently my small plot keeps getting tunneled overnight. The entry/exit holes are 3-5 cm wide, some of the tunnels seems to have entry/exit, while others only have one hole. I have tried looking into the tunnels as they are quite shallow, but found no signs or remains that can tell me what is doing the digging.
Short of installing a night camera I don't know what to do to find the culprit.
Whatever it is, it seems to like digging in soft earth and not clay. Also, it is not interested in eating any of the veggies. Some of the tunnels are zig-zaggy and pretty long, up to 1,5 meters, others are just 10 cm long.
The earth along the tunnel is lifted up, and at the entrance/exit there is no pile.
Any idea from your experiences? (I thought they may be cicadas but there is too many and some of the holes are quite wide (5 cm). Plus they seem not to be digging toward the surface directly, but dig around along a long line first...)
A couple of pictures: (in my search I kind of flattened the tunnels, so these are the couple left. I will take pictures again and post more next time they appear)
Two Pictures

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Eric in Japan
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Re: Mystery digger

Postby Eric in Japan » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:54 am

Obviously Tsuchinoko.
"... so, the cucumbers said to the cabbage, `Lettuce Go.`"

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Re: Mystery digger

Postby Funasshi » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:57 pm

Eric in Japan wrote:Obviously Tsuchinoko.

”According to legend, some tsuchinoko have the ability to speak and a propensity for lying, and they are also said to have a taste for alcohol.”
I guess I should start by putting out a can of highball then, and when it comes to drink, try to strike up a conversation and ask what his deal is :roll:

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Re: Mystery digger

Postby Zasso Nouka » Sat Aug 05, 2017 5:58 am

Sorry to be boring but could be moles searching for nekirimushi, kabotamushi young and other pests that live just under the surface

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Re: Mystery digger

Postby Funasshi » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:12 am

:lol: "boring", good one!
Yeah, I guess it could be moles... (at least I hope, rather than mice)
I will set some traps and see what comes up :)

During the weekend I made a couple more discoveries...
1-While I was digging around and fixing the earth for planting, I followed a couple of tunnels deeper, and they are much much longer than I thought initially. I only saw the part that came close to the surface before, where the ground kind of bulged along the tunnels. But then they dive deeper... so not cicadas, and more like moles I guess.
2-When I was standing around cutting weeds, being eaten by mosquitoes and trying not to pass out in the midday sun, I witnessed right in front of me a tokage digging for food. Looked just like this one:
Image
He dug maybe 10 cm quite easily and pulled out a big fat larvae the same size as its own head and swallowed it whole. The hole it made was kind of like the ones that are driving me nuts in both width and shape, but do they really dig several meters? Anyway skinks are one more candidate.

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Re: Mystery digger

Postby Zasso Nouka » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:02 am

Funasshi wrote:2-When I was standing around cutting weeds, being eaten by mosquitoes and trying not to pass out in the midday sun


I wouldn't recommend working outside between 12 - 2 or even 3 sometimes, heatstroke isn't a fun way to spend a few days recovering. Get yourself one of those cheap straw hats most home centres have in stock right now and that will keep you a few degrees cooler and some speed dry t-shirts also help.

Not sure how deep skinks go, they do make burrows and dig for food but never really looked into how far they go. Could be perhaps.

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Re: Mystery digger

Postby Funasshi » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:45 am

Thanks ZN.
(The passing out bit was just me trying to be funny.) ;)
Actually I am pretty wary having heard tales of people getting into serious trouble due to heatstroke. I have made it a habit to always wear my straw hat in the garden, rain or shine. And when working in the sun I keep a 2L sport drink in a cooler box with me and pretty much finish it within an hour. Plus I never work longer than an hour around midday anyway, it is true as you say, it is just too hot. Usually I go out and play in the garden from around 8 AM to about 11, then go in for a change of clothes, a short rest and a snack, then come out ready for the heat and work till around 12:30, then in for lunch and a nap till things get cooler in the afternoon. :)

The being eaten by bugs bit however was completely serious. I have sprays (both for my skin and the ones that go on vegetation), portable repellent fans (not the 100 yen shop ones, but real ones that actually work), long sleeves, long boots and trousers and not much skin showing. Plus I am very hairy... :lol:
It takes care of maybe half of the bugs, but the rest are Rambo tough, and somehow manage to get me. The other day one of them bit me right on the eyelid.

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Re: Mystery digger

Postby gonbechan » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:26 pm

Funasshi wrote:He dug maybe 10 cm quite easily and pulled out a big fat larvae the same size as its own head and swallowed it whole. The hole it made was kind of like the ones that are driving me nuts in both width and shape, but do they really dig several meters? Anyway skinks are one more candidate.


I would guess that the upper part of the tunnel is the skink and the lower part from the grub.

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Re: Mystery digger

Postby gonbechan » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:20 pm


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Re: Mystery digger

Postby Zasso Nouka » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:37 am

To fully connect with your inner Ojisan you can get a katori senko burner that clips onto your trouser belt loops :lol: , that will keep most mosquitoes away but won't protect you from abu which are nasty little buggers. Best way to deal with them is wait for them to land and then slap them while they are trying to bite through your clothes.

There is a surprising amount of calories in sports drink, you can buy the powder sachets in many places and drink it at 1/3 strength and still get enough ions to avoid painful cramps. If you buy a thermos type flask for it make sure you get one that is safe for sports drinks, some of the cheaper ones leach metal ions into the drink


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