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Moles

Moles produce two types of runways in your yard. One runway runs just beneath the surface. These are feeding tunnels and appear as raised ridges running across your lawn. The second type of runway runs deeper and enables the moles to unite the feeding tunnels in a network. It is the soil excavated from the deep tunnels that homeowners find on their lawns, piled up in mounds that resemble little volcanoes. These mounds are a dead giveaway that your problem is not voles, but moles. Voles leave no mounds at all.

  • Moles have one litter of young in the spring, with 3 to 4 young being the average litter size. 
  • The young stay with the female in her tunnels for about a month, and then they leave and start their own tunneling. 
  • The young grow quickly and are the same size as the adult in 4 to 8 weeks. 
  • The population fluctuates slowly increasing when food and habitat are favorable, decreasing when food is scarce. 
  • Young females will not breed until the next year. 
  • Because moles have high energy requirements, they have large appetites. They can eat 70 to 80 percent of their weight daily. 
  • They actively feed day and night, at all times of the year. 
  • Moles feed on mature insects, snail larvae, spiders, small vertebrates, earthworms, and occasionally small amounts of vegetation. Earthworms and white grubs are preferred foods. 
  • They build an extensive tunnel system composed of both deep and surface tunnels -- shallow surface tunnels for spring, summer and fall; deep, permanent tunnels for winter use. 
  • Mole activity in lawns or fields usually shows up as ridges of upheaved soil. The ridges are created where the runways are constructed as the animals move about foraging for food. These ridges can make lawn mowing difficult and the roots of the grass are disturbed, and may turn brown and unsightly. 
  • Moles can tunnel at a rate of 12 to 15 ft. per hour. In favorable areas they can tunnel at a rate of one foot per minute. Moles prefer moist, sandy loam soils in lawns, gardens, pastures and woodlands. They generally avoid heavy, dry clay soils. 
  • Nest cavities are located underground, connecting with the deep tunnels. 
  • The number of tunnels does not necessarily indicate the number of moles present. Their tunneling will go on at any time of the day, but the mole will only be seen (if at all), during the night. 
  • Their sensitive eyes make it hard for them to be out during the day. 
  • Moles usually do not share their tunnels with other moles, but shrews, voles or gophers occasionally invade their tunnels. 
  • Moles rarely eat flower bulbs, ornamentals, or other vegetative material while tunneling, but plants may be physically disturbed as moles tunnel in search of food sources in the soil. 
  • Burrowing activity occurs year-round, but peaks during warm, wet months. Some of these tunnels are used as travel lanes and may be abandoned immediately after being dug. 
  • Moles leave cone-shaped mounds of soil on the surface of the ground (called molehills) as they dig deep, permanent tunnels and nest cavities for use in the winter or during the hot times of the summer. 
  • Most often these mounds contain coarse soil and earth clods. The mole pushes the soil up through the center, much like a volcano is formed. Moles push dirt through vertical tunnels onto the surface.

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