Moles

Signs of Moles

There are two types of identifying marks moles leave in the ground, runways and mounds. Runways are long, shallow tunnels on the surface of a lawn and look like small ridges. They will feel spongy and soft when walked upon. Open holes to the surface are rarely seen in mole runways

Underground breathing

Moles have been found to tolerate higher levels of carbon dioxide than other mammals because their blood cells have a special form of hemoglobin that has a higher affinity to oxygen than other forms.

In addition to this, moles utilize oxygen more effectively by reusing the exhaled air, and as a result, are able to survive in low-oxygen environments such as burrows.

Diet

A mole’s diet primarily consists of earthworms and other small invertebrates found in the soil. The mole runs are in reality “worm traps”, the mole sensing when a worm falls into the tunnel and quickly running along to kill and eat it. Because their saliva contains a toxin that can paralyze earthworms, moles are able to store their still-living prey for later consumption.

They construct special underground “larders” for just this purpose; researchers have discovered such larders with over a thousand earthworms in them.

Before eating earthworms, moles pull them between their squeezed paws to force the collected earth and dirt out of the worm’s gut.

The star-nosed mole can detect, catch, and eat food faster than the human eye can follow.

Breeding

Breeding season for a mole depends on species but is generally February through May.

Males search for females by letting out high-pitched squeals and tunneling through foreign areas.

The gestation period of the Eastern mole is approximately 42 days. Three to five young are born, mainly in March and early April.

Townsend moles mate in February and March and the 2–4 young are born in March and April after a gestation period of about 1 month. 

Coast moles produce a litter of 2–5 pups between March and April.

Pups leave the nest 30–45 days after birth to find territories of their own.

How can you prevent a moles infestation in your home?

Moles can dig deeply, so a standard privacy fence around your yard won’t keep them out.
However, smaller physical barriers around specific areas like your garden or and trees can keep them from tearing up roots and grass.
These barriers must be fairly deep to be effective, which can make this task quite labor-intensive.

Don’t create a physical mole barrier around your entire house unless you’re hiring professional help to do so.

The barrier should be at least 30 inches deep and five to six inches out of the ground. You can use the following materials:

  • Gravel (buried inside a trench and covered with dirt)
  • Wire Mesh
  • Wire Cages

Time to contact a professional?

  • You aren’t sure if you’re experiencing a mole problem or if a similar type of critter has invaded your lawn. (Moles and voles, groundhogs and gophers can all yield similar damage and resemble each other.)
  • You’ve used several DIY methods already, and nothing seems to be working.
  • You can tell that there are multiple moles in your yard, so the problem will be too difficult to resolve on your own.
  • The mole or moles have already caused extensive damage, so you want to prevent any more from happening.
  • At any point, you’ve felt that your own or your family’s safety has been compromised.

There are also certain instances when you’re implementing preventative measures where it would be wise to contact a professional rather than attempting to do it on your own. This could include setting up physical barriers that reach the requirements necessary to keep out moles, or working on any landscaping in order to prevent the buildup of moisture in your yard.

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