What are mole
To dig a tunnel the mole needs to remove the soil from beneath
ground. To do this he will push the displaced soil up vertical
tunnels to ground level and deposit the soil. This is repeated
again and again and a mole hill is formed. As the tunnel expands he
will dig up to ground again and another mole hill is formed.
Why do they dig
Moles create a tunnel network to live and feed in.
What do they eat?
It finds food by running along its tunnels and eating any
earthworms, insects and molluscs which have fallen from the walls.
If there is a plentiful supply of food, moles will bite the heads
off worms and store them for consumption later.
Moles are blind
Contrary to popular belief moles are not totally blind. Their eyes
are small and completely hidden in their fur to give the appearance
of being blind but it can still differentiate between light and
How big are they?
Many people are surprised just how small moles are. Typically 5.5
to 6 inches and around 100g. Because of the extent of the damage
they can create I have heard people say they expected something the
size of a badger!!
Moles are mostly solitary and will defend their own territories
aggressively. They will however share the main runs under hedges and
fences and their territories will often overlap.
How often do they
Moles breed once a year around March to May and produce a litter of
2-7 but usually 3-4. The young are fully mature and ready to leave
the nest at about 35 days. They travel overland searching for
territories of their own.
Moles do not hibernate but work throughout the year.
Moles work on a sleeping/working pattern of approx 4 hours. I.e. 4
hours working/feeding followed by 4 hours rest.
How old do they
Moles live on average 2 to 5 years.
only mole present in the British Isles is Talpa Europea, the
Distribution: Great Britain, except
Ireland; throughout rest of Europe and Asia.
Lives mostly underground in pasture, woodland and gardens; absent
from high moors, mountains and acid soils.
Solid, muscular body covered in velvety black fur (grey, cream,
orange, white and piebald colours also found). Long, pointed nose
and short, upright tail. Tiny pin-head sized eyes. Large,
shovel-like front feet with 5 strong claws.
have a very high metabolism and will die of starvation if they do
not eat every few hours. A mole will eat at least half its own body
weight a day.
eyes of the mole are very tiny but sight is not important to an
animal that lives in darkness for most of the time. It does not have
a good sense of smell or hearing but it is extremely sensitive to
touch and can sense vibrations in the soil around it. Sensitive
whiskers help it to find its way about and detect food and water; it
is also helped by thousands of very sensitive, tiny hairs which
cover its long nose.
Moles and Man:
Moles have long been
regarded as a pest by many gardeners and farmers. Damage to gardens
and amenity areas such as golf courses, bowling greens, cricket
pitches and other recreational areas can be merely aesthetic but
might also be financial if users are deterred by their presence. On
racecourses, grass airstrips and sports fields, molehills can
present a risk of injury to pilots, horses, riders, and others
participating in sport.
Farmers report a
wide range of problems due to moles, including:
of silage with Clostridium or Listeria (when bacteria from mole
hills are gathered up with grass during silage production)
pasture with soil (reducing the area available for grazing)
- injury to
- damage to
- damage to
drainage systems and watercourses
- damage to
young plants including wilting of crops (which can reduce
quality and yield)
- weed invasion
and subsequent degeneration of pasture on molehills.
Why trap them:
If you're like most
homeowners, you're probably confused by all of the conflicting
"advice" on mole control. You believe every rumour, home remedy or
control method is worth trying. In fact, chemicals and home remedies
(including Jeyes Fluid and vibrating devices) are not only
ineffective when dealing with moles, they allow the animals time to
establish and become real problems. Also, attempting to kill moles
with poisonous gases (gassing) is generally ineffective. I have
encountered pretty much every conceivable old wives tale used to
deter moles including castor oil, bleach, moth balls, pepper,
petrol, smoke bombs, sonic spikes, pickle, musical cards, windmills,
flooding with hosepipes, chilli, ferret dung, garlic, broken glass,
baits, certain types of plants, ultrasonic devices, ammonia, gassing
with exhaust fumes and upturned bottles. Any mole trapper will have
dealt with moles that had been subjected to most of these and others
as well and the one thing that they all have in common is that none
of them worked!
There are no simple
solutions to a mole problem and trapping is the most
humane and reliable method