What are Moles?
Moles are seven inches long, furry mammals that have tiny eyes and pointed muzzles. They dwell within the ground and bifurcate the soil through their flippers as they move in search of garden insects like grubs and earthworms to feed on.
They are most likely to be seen during the early morning and evening in moist, loamy, and fertile soil rich in organic matter.
Life cycle of Moles
Moles have an average lifetime of three years. Newly born moles are known as ‘pups’ that stay in their nest for around forty days. Pups start growing hair by the time they turn fourteen days old. When they grow up, they leave their parents’ tunnel and make a new tunnel.
Types of Moles
Moles look very similar to mice and rats but they don’t fall under the same category due to their quite distinctive features. For example, moles have very strong hearing ability as compared to several rodents.
Here is a list of some of the most common types of moles:
1. European Moles
They are also known as ‘Northern Moles’ and dwell in the ground by making new tunnel systems after a certain period.
They are 11 cm to 16 cm long, have grey fur, and feed on earthworms and other underground insects.
2. Star-nosed Moles
Star-nosed moles are native to North America.
They are one of the tiniest moles with a size of 12 cm, having a pink snout which helps them in detecting seismic waves.
3. Eastern Moles
Eastern moles are native to North America, Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
They are grey in color, medium in length with large, spade-shaped feet designed specially to dig tunnels. They have minute eyes that are hidden by fur, along with a fleshy snout.
They reside in loamy soil by digging deep burrows and feed on earthworms and other underground insects.
4. Hairy-tailed Moles
Hairy-tailed moles are 15 cm in size, also known as ‘Brewers Moles’, and are native to North America.
They have dark grey fur, pointed nose, short tail, and sharp front paws to dig tunnels with ease.
They reside in dry, loose soil, forest areas; but dwell in moist, well-drained soil.
5. Blind Moles
They are also known as ‘Mediterranean Moles’ are they are found in the Mediterranean region.
They resemble European moles and are commonly found in France, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Turkey, and Albania.
6. American Shrew Moles
American Shrew Moles are the smallest type of moles and are also known as ‘Gibb’s Shrew Moles’ due to their fur having characteristics of shrews.
They are native to British Columbia and the north-western United States. They reside in moist, swampy areas with dense vegetation.
7. Japanese Shrew Moles
Japanese Shrew Moles are are endemic to Japan.
The specialty of these moles is, unlike other type of moles, they are found found in forests and grasslands on hills and mountains.
Danger due to Moles
Although moles mostly live underground, they still pose a threat to humans in the following ways:
- Surface tunnels due to digging: Moles dig 8 to 10 inches within the soil to make tunnels, which is a sign of moles infestation. The tunnels look like raise volcanoes and often emerge as surface tunnels and ridges which make the place look untidy.
- Poor soil fertility: Moles consume most of the insects lying within the soil including earthworms – farmer’s friend, which results in poor soil fertility.
Signs of Moles in your Yard
You can determine if your mole has been infested by moles if you see the following things:
- The entrance/exit of mole tunnels are visible in the form of raised mounds of dirt.
- Some part of your lawn gets squishy due to the soil being loosened by moles.
- There are trails of dead, faded grass due to the digging done by moles.
- There are raised ridges across your yard.
- There is increased growth of weeds or unwanted grass on your lawn.
Natural ways to get rid of Moles
You can prevent mole infestation and get rid of them naturally by using the following things:
- Castor Oil: Spraying a solution of castor oil and detergent in your lawns and entrances will keep moles at bay since they don’t like the flavor and smell of castor oil.
- Dried Blood: Dried blood or tobacco repels moles and can be sprinkled on the lawn to reduce the infestation.
- Coffee or Red Pepper: They can be sprinkled on the soil and entryways respectively to prevent moles from making tunnels.
- Pets: Certain pets like cats and dogs help highly in getting rid of rodents and moles.
- Tar: Tar creates a nuisance for moles and sprinkling just a minimal amount of it would result in them leaving your garden.
Plants that repel Moles
Moles are highly repelled by the following plants:
- Daffodil bulbs are toxic due to which moles avoid their roots.
- Marigolds are aromatic and contain pyrethrin which repels bugs that dwell on soils and hence, repel moles as well.
- Caper Spurge grows best in chalk soil and deter moles.
- Fritillaria Imperialis, belong to the lily family. They have huge bulbs, full of wax that smell like foxes, and repel moles.
There are various types of moles but they all have the potential to severely damage your garden and soil by digging tunnels and feeding on earthworms.
You don’t need to call pest control services as you can get rid of them naturally by sprinkling some castor oil, coffee, or red pepper in the infested areas.