Moles are usually classified as a pest species due to their tunneling habit. The most common complaints include the following:
- “Ridges” from tunnels all over yard
- Large mole hill piles of dirt
- Ground feels spongey & looks unsightly
- General lawn & landscape destruction
For these reasons, many people wish to have this nuisance animal removed from the property. This is usually accomplished with lethal traps – there are no known effective live mole traps.
The Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus) is small, weighing only about 3 oz. and is about 6 inches long. They live for about 2-3 years. They breed in January, and after a 45 day pregnancy, give birth to 2-4 young. The Townsend’s Mole (Scapanus townsendii) is larger, at about 5 oz. and 8 inches long. Breeding is similar to other moles. The Star-Nosed Mole (Condylura cristata) is yet another potentially destructive mole species.
Mole behavior: All moles are subterranean – they live under ground – and dig a network of tunnels and chambers. They create surface tunnels and dirt mounds under the chamber areas. Most moles are territorial, so there might just be one in your yard. They primarily eat earthworms, and also other underground larvae and insects. A single mole can cause an enormous amount of destruction to their lawn and landscaping. A single mole can turn a nice manicured lawn into a mess of tunnels and dirt piles.
Mole diseases: No important zoonotic diseases associated with moles.
How do I get rid of moles? Lethal trapping and removal is the one and only way. Although several companies have tried to create mole poisons, none seem to work well. A product called Talpirid seemed to have promise, but it wasn’t that good. By and large, only trapping will do the trick. Types of mole traps include spear traps, scissor traps, and body clamp traps. These traps are not for amateurs to set. Mole trapping is an art best left to the professionals. The traps have to be set jussst riiiight or else they will not work. They have to be set on the active tunnels that the mole is using, not the one-time feeder tunnels. Mole trapping requires experience.
Can’t I just use a repellent? Various mole repellents are sold, but judging by the experience of many trappers and homeowners, it simply does not work at keeping moles away.
A mole tunnel can look like a small ridge or mound of soil. Moles prefer moist soil, so if you are near a water source or have a lawn irrigation system you are at even greater risk for a mole invasion. If you have seen indentations in your lawn, or small mounds and are not sure what they are, it’s time to call your Minnesota Wild Animal Management representative.