Ground Moles

Moles are ground-dwelling carnivores that prefer to eat insects instead of your garden plants. However, their underground tunnels can ruin your garden and lawn and make an easy access to your plants for other rodents. If you have a significant invasion of moles it may be a sign of trouble. Moles are usually found where soil is rich in organic matter. Their presence in unusually large numbers might be due to a high population of soil pests. It therefore serves as a warning that all is not well with soil life.

mole mounds in a field

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 (North America) mole (Scalopus aquaticus) 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.The Townsend mole is endangered in the United States and Canada.

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.

ground mole on a mole mound

*Did you know? Moles are able to tolerate higher levels of carbon dioxide and will reuse oxygen inhaled above ground to aid in longer survival underground.

american broad mole

Mole Damage and Activity

Moles are surprisingly small mammals for the amount of damage they can cause. In motion they actually swim along underground, using wide front flippers to part the soil as they go. They prefer moist, loamy soil and are most active

in the early morning or evening in the spring or fall. 

Moles have the distinguishing characteristic of a hairless, pointed snout. Their small eyes and ear canals are concealed by fur, and they do not have external ears. They have very large and broad forefeet with webbed toes. Their hind feet or more narrow and have slender claws. They are usually about 7 inches in length and weigh about 4 ounces.

*Did you know? 

Moles can

dig up to 18 feet an hour!

diagram of mole tunnel system

Mole 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.

Ground Moles in North America

coast mole

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Eulipotyphla

Family: Talpidae

Genus: Scalopus aquaticus

Coast Mole

Located in:

Northwest United States 

map of coast mole territory

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Eulipotyphla

Family: Talpidae

Genus: Parascalops breweri

Hairy Tailed Mole

Located in:

North Eastern United States and Canada

map of hairy taild mole territory
star nosed mole

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Eulipotyphla

Family: Talpidae

Genus: Condylura cristata 

Star Nosed Mole

Located in:

Eastern United States and Canada

map of star nosed mole territory

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Eulipotyphla

Family: Talpidae

Genus: Scapanus latimanus 

Broad Footed Mole

Located in:

Southwest United States

map of borad footed mole territory
townsend's mole

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Eulipotyphla

Family: Talpidae

Genus: Scapanus townsendii

Townsend's Mole

Located in:

The Pacific Coast

map of townsend's mole territory

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Eulipotyphla

Family: Talpidae

Genus: Neurotrichus gibbsii

American Shrew Mole

Located in:

Northwest United States and Canada

map of american shrew mole territory

Fact or Fiction?

There is a lot of miss-information spread about moles and mole eradication techniques. One of our missions at the MAA is to provide access to current and verified information, and to slow the spread of, sometimes costly, false techniques and practices. Below you will find our Fact or Fiction chart designed to easily inform and educate!

You can use Juicy Fruit gum to get rid of moles.

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Fiction

Unfortunately, this will not work to get rid of your moles.

Castor oil works as a natural mole deterrent.

Fact

Castor oil is an effective, and all natural way to deter moles, and other bugs from your property.

Broken glass in the mole tunnel will get rid of them.

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Fiction

Not only is this not going to get rid of your moles, it can harm you or others.

Using a trap to get rid of moles is effective and ethical.

Fact

A well trained, or MAA certified mole catcher is the most effective method.

You can use gases or water to kill moles.

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Fiction

With a vast tunnel systems moles can quickly evade gases and rising water. Exhaust can effectively kill your lawn.

Dawn soap will force the moles to leave your property.

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Fiction

This method is possibly the most common misconception. This is not a recommended treatment for moles.