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Moles Facts, Identification, and Control

Family Talpidae

Generally, moles but more particularly eastern moles are huge, with round feet, thick and short claws, short, bare tail with a sharp edged snout. Having small, silky fur that is gray in color, they can stretch up to 17.6 cm long. Eyes, ears are usually covered by fur due to their smallish nature.

Animals such as beetle grubs, earthworms and ants are the main source of food for moles. They do not feed on bulbs, roots of plants, but seeds and particles of vegetables could be included in their meals.

During spring, females give birth to three to five young ones.

Being active during the entire year, moles known to be pests with their excessive hole digging. Complex subversive tunnels that run at different depth levels are created by them. Runways closer to the ground surface are the reason we see heaps and ridges on ground surface. These can be created 6 meters in an hour and are primarily for feeding. The runways that run deeper could be as much as 25 cm under the soil surface; they are primarily for transportation for the mole. The number of moles within a plot cannot be determined by the number of mounds in the ground. A range of seven to twelve moles can all be contained in one hectare of land.

Coming from the order Soricomorpha and family Talpidae, with the eastern mole (Scalopus Aquaticus) being the most common, moles have many species in the U.S. the eastern mole has a wide coverage and the highest number in the U.S.

Characteristics are not too different among the different species and they cause the most destruction to orchards and turfs. They are not insectivores, hence, cannot be categorized as rodents as some believe them to be.

With the many available ways to control mole infestation, setting accurate traps over the tunnels is the most reliable. Knowing active tunnels might be tricky because moles quickly move from one to another.

What You Think You Know About Moles?

Moles are not rodents rather they are insectivores. They belong to the same family as anteaters.

their eyes are very tiny and is just like a thin membrane located at the back of the snout. They are only able to sense light with their eyes.

moles do not socialize with one another and they can fight each other even to death if their territory is invaded with an exception of mating period. However they could share tunnels in a place like the highway.

moles feed mainly on earthworm, and never consume anything other than ground vertebrates like millipedes, ants, grubs and the likes of them.

tests conducted on moles have proven they have great appetite and can consume on a daily basis food worth 70-100 percent their body weight.

moles are mostly carnivores but they can kill plants indirectly in two ways:

  • Grubs and worms are found majorly among the roots of flowers, hedge or other plants. The mole removes the soil around the root of the plant while searching for food hence the plant dies as its source of nutrition is lost.
  • Some other animals especially voles would always make use of the tunnels created by the mole and would eat up any root or tuber it comes across.

people often take note of mole hills in the morning. However, moles are not really more or less active at night or in the day. Research says moles work in shift for about four hours after they must have slept. They rather prefer to work during the quite hours of the morning or night. Most often, moles put a hold to their activities once humans begin to walk around and the ground begins to vibrate.

By nature, moles are woodland animals. However, they can easily spread out and inhabit any residential property not well taken care of. Since they operate through tunnel networks, it becomes very difficult to control or get rid of them if they are allowed to occupy the property for too long.

Moles spend a good part of their lives in underground tunnels or runways which appears to be a low ridge on the surface of flowerbeds, yards and any other landscape. These tunnels are created for the purpose of food search, nesting, protection, resting and as well for living space for traveling.

Most tunnels created by moles are often found under lawn turf, along flowerbeds, sidewalks, fence lines and dirt roads as well as places where insects are in abundance. The major tunnels measures about 6 inches away from ground level, the shallow ones are about 2 inches deep while deeper ones are 20 inches however, they don’t make use of the shallow ones more than ones.

Occasionally, moles show up on ground surface mostly at night in search of food, water, nesting materials and can as well migrate to a new environment during the night.

Voles Facts, Identification, and Control

Microtus spp

Voles, otherwise known as meadow mice, are rodents, spending most of their time underground. When fully grown, they measure 5 to 8 inches, having more body mass than mice. Their tails and legs are short, with their body covered in black or brownish fur. Their head are round with a blunt snout. The upper side of their tail has a darker color than the lower side. Just like the mole, the vole has two set of tiny eyes buried in their body fur. People often mistake voles for mice. Though having similar physical appearance with mice, voles have shorter tail than mice, making it easy to differentiate it from mice.

Voles stay pretty much active at nights as well as in the day, being mostly active during evenings. Just like moles, voles construct extensive network of burrows located close to the ground, constructing their burrows around hidden areas such as debris, lumber or firewood debris. Their tunnels have a snake-like shape, meandering though bends on the surface. One burrow system can contain several adult voles at a time. Some species of voles prefer taking over burrows vacated by other voles. Voles are hunted by predators like snakes, foxes, hawks, raccoons and cats, being the reason why voles live between 2 to 16 months.

Their preferred habitats are areas with lots of grass and cover. They can swiftly destroy gardens, landscapes when they invade. Farmers and plantation owners find this creature as a pest, being in the habit of eating up crops and plant nurseries. They sometimes feed on the remains of bigger animals, snails and insects

Voles breed all through the year –spring and summer are the peak breeding season. Female voles produce between 1 to 5 litters each year, with each litter having between 3 to 6 pups. Voles attain sexual maturity at 1 to 1 ½ months.

The most pronounced sign of vole infestation is the appearance of runway system above the surface of the ground. The surface runway are often covered by vole droppings and cut vegetation. If there are no droppings and cut vegetation, then it is a clear sign that they have moved somewhere else.

Owing to the difficulty in differentiating a vole from a mouse, it is important you first have a professional pest controller inspect your property if you suspect vole infestation. After inspection, the professional exterminator will then propose effective ways of managing containing the voles. There are different methods of controlling moles, but the method you eventually settle for will depend on the number of voles. Exclusion, trapping, habitat modification are some of the common techniques used controlling vole infestation.

Vole Removal & Control

Vole Removal & Control

Vole Biology & Information