Mole Activity Identification 101

Mole mounds are circular. The mounds often remind me of a volcano with stubby cigar shaped clods strewn on top. The characteristic shape and clods are created as the mole pushes the earth to the surface up through the center of the mound with its front paws. The earthen plug that is so characteristic of a gopher, is not visible in a mole mound. However, if the soil is cleared, the earthen plug sealing the tunnel will be found in the center of the cleared area. Mound size can range from 4 to 24 inches across. Deep excavation produces larger mounds. Heavy mounding in a small areas indicates nesting preparation. Counting the number of mounds, especially during spring and fall, is not a reliable method of taking a mole census. Experts believe that 2 to 5 moles per acre is a lot of moles!

Fresh Mole Mound on Old         Mole Clods are the Giveaway     Mole Mounds Series of Five

Foraging tunnels winding like varicose veins 1 to 2 inches under the surface. Foraging occurs particularly in lawns and mulched areas. These winding tunnels allow the mole to feed on earthworms, grubs and an assortment of invertebrates during favorable temperatures. Some foraging tunnels are used only once and the mole never returns to them. Step them down in a few places and if the mole is foraging the tunnel will be repaired in a day or two. During winter temperatures, foraging tunnels are not used because moles feed deeper underground where food is more plentiful.

Mole Foraging Tunnels      Mole Foraging in Mulch

Shallow surface tunnels used as travel lanes. Travel lanes are straighter than foraging tunnels and usually follow the path of least resistance; man made borders such as sidewalks, foundations, as well as mulched areas. This system of travel lanes to numerous feeding areas supply a large amount of worms, grubs, larvae, etc. once established.

Raised Tunnel Used as a Travel Lane       Mole Travel Lane Along Patio      Mole Travel Lane in Mulch

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