Moles Scientific Name: Talpa europaea

Moles Facts

Moles are a frequent problem throughout America and are well known for their ability to dig up dirt tirelessly. They use their padded feet to delve deep underground and can be a hassle to get rid of once they’ve become established. The presence of moles is often identified by small mounds of dirt appearing in lawns and gardens, in which land is turned up, forming a hill; these mounds are commonly known as mole hills. Moles can inadvertently damage flower beds and other areas by their incessant need to burrow.

Moles are hunted by hawks, and as such, many Floridian residents have noticed a decreasing number of moles in their area due to natural control methods. Moles feast on grubs of any inspect species; this wide variety of habitat and food source is what gives moles the freedom to live in most states in America. This creature is a common pest everywhere in the country.

Moles Identification

Mole hills are usually the first and only indication of the presence of moles. These small, upturned hills are less than a few feet in length and can appear in aggravating numbers depending on the size of the territory underground. Moles are much less likely to be seen than their telltale habitats. This may also be an indication of rodent pests such as gophers.

Moles are not rodents, but are insectivores that consume grubs. They are between seven and ten inches in length and have a thick, glossy coat that enables them to propel through soil, much like other animals present in water. Unlike gophers, they have a small, stout body and are more rounded and youthful in their appearance. They have two sets of legs and a small, circular face.

Moles Habitat

Moles live underground and create extensive networks of chambers and alleyways that can join together multiple colonies. The area in which these networks are established depends on the species and the geographical location in which they are settled. Moles can be found in most of the states and even extend into Canada. As such, variations on landscapes and species preference may mean they bore underneath fields, mountainous land, domestic lawns and gardens or other soil based areas. Moles usually stay away from areas that have exceptionally harsh weather conditions in one extreme or another.

Despite these variations, the underground chambers will share a remarkably similar development and will be only visible from above ground by mole hills, which act as an entrance. Underground, there will be different tunnels which will connect larger rooms, such as nesting areas or a places to store food. These networks can keep up to hundreds of moles at any one time.

Life Cycle of Moles

Moles are territorial and raise their young in the same place they breed and live. Breeding takes place in the springtime and will triggered by the amount of daylight hours. As the days become longer, the moles’ instinct to mate will spawn the emergence of new moles. Males will begin to look for a mate between February and March of each year; sexually mature moles will breed annually. Once a successful partnership has been found, the male will impregnate their mate and immediately seek another afterward.

Female moles will give birth to between five and seven pups after a gestation period of about 42 days. The newborn young do not have fur and will feed on their mother until they begin to develop adult characteristics. Once the pups have reached maturity, the mother will help them into their own personal burrows, and they will become sexually mature in the following spring. This developmental process can take several months.

Moles and Humans

Moles are listed as one of the most common garden pests in America. They slowly settle in the northern states but can afflict almost any garden in the land. Their appearance is often dictated by the sighting of mole hills, but this may not be an accurate indicator of what lies beneath. Because of this, it can seem difficult and demanding to remove moles from your home without successful identification of an actual critter.

Many moles are nocturnal and are also able to hear vibrations underground. This only amplifies their illusive existence and makes it difficult to distinguish them on several occasions. Moles are usually a frightened animal but may defend themselves if provoked. This can include biting or scratching; these creatures may cause transmit diseases, though it is rare for them to do so.

Mole Control

It is essential to correctly identify moles in the yard, as the methods that are used to remove them vary between other similar pests and will not be effective unless accurate. This is why many people claim they cannot remove moles from their gardens, in spite of various removal methods.

Preventive methods: Mesh wiring can be installed beneath the ground to prevent digging or surfacing behavior. This is best to put into place in gardens that have a history of moles. This method, however, may not be possible for those who are keen gardeners or have extensive landscaping, as the meshing should be installed under the total surface area.

Natural methods: Castor oil has show to be a hindrance to moles and can be placed directly in their holes. This is based on research that shows the creature’s natural aversion to caster beans. Treatments purchased at a store may also contain Castor oil or extract for the same effect.

Baiting: Often carried out by professionals, baiting can be an effective treatment, in which moles are captured and either re-released, or the moles will be exterminated. Traps are laid in the ground or above by the entrances are used to attract the moles inside where the use of chemical treatments can also be used.

When using chemicals by yourself, it is pertinent to note that these treatments can also harm humans and pets, and professional treatment is advised. Many professional pest control services will help you make an action plan and will explore biological and chimerical treatments prior to execution.

Also check out our article on Mole Bait.

Moles Zoology

Moles belong to the animalia kingdom and are classed as mammalia, or mammals. They belong to the Eutheria infra-class but are also a member of the Talpidae family. Moles are common to the Chordata phylum which is shared by rodents. They are not themselves a rodent, but in fact an insectivore and eat grubs and other small insects.