Mole Education

What is a Mole?

What is a Mole?
Moles are unique creatures that spend their lives underground, constantly digging to hunt and navigate under the earth's surface. Their digging habits notoriously destroy lawns, gardens and golf courses, frustrating home and business owners. Below, learn more about their habitat, diet, and how to identify mole damage.

How Big Are They?

These rotund animals have a hairless, pointed snout, small eyes and no visible ears. On average, moles grow to 4.4 to 6.25 inches (11.3 to 15.9 centimeters) long from snout to rump. Their tails add 1 to 1.6 inches (2.5 to 4 cm) of length. They typically weigh 2.5 to 4.5 ounces (72 to 128 grams), according to the Mammal Society.

What Do They Eat?

Moles are insectivores, eating 70-100% of their weight in worms, grubs and insects each day. In order to hunt down their ground-dwelling prey, moles constantly excavate, leaving behind a series of tunnels. This digging requires a tremendous amount of energy, which may explain the mole's voracious appetite.
mole insects

Yard Mole Damage

The destruction most people associate with moles is the volcano-like mounds of dirt that are pushed to the surface. They will use their powerful front paws to claw at the dirt and pack it on all sides to create a tunnel. Moles will then turn around in their tunnel and push the dirt to the surface. The excavated dirt creates a pile that can get larger than 2 feet in diameter (although most are ½" – ¾" in diameter). These unsightly piles will then settle to create bare spots on grass.

Another common calling card of yard moles or garden moles is the "surface tunneling" that appears as a long series of "vein-like" upward cracks in soft soil such as newly-laid sod or gardens.

Many people with mole problems complain of walking across their lawn only to notice their feet sinking on what feels like spongy grass. Many times this sinking feeling is caused by the weight of the person collapsing a shallow tunnel.
Mole Tunnels

Mole Behavior

Activity: Moles are active throughout the daytime and nighttime. Although moles are active year-round, they tend to exhibit less hunting activity in extreme heat or cold. They are most active after periods of rain or watering, when the soil texture is ideal for digging.

Reproduction: Mating season begins in late winter. Gestation lasts about 42 days, after which time females give birth to 2-5 young. Baby moles become independent from their mothers after about a month of age.

Social Interaction: Most moles are solitary animals, only socializing when they reproduce. The star-nosed mole is the only species thought to live in colonies. Within the other species, mole populations may range from 1 mole per 6 acres to up to 5 moles per 1 acre.

Digging: Moles spend most of their time digging tunnels in search of worms and grubs to eat. When digging these tunnels, moles tend to follow manmade edges like fence lines or building foundations. Periodically moles will pause to push the loosened soil to the surface, resulting in the creation of molehills.

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