Moles & Voles

Resource Page

Carefully maintained lawns and yards attract voles and moles.  The more lush and lavish your landscape, the more appealing it is to moles and voles.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE MOLES AND VOLES?

  • Voles make holes and moles make mounds. 

  • Moles leave their telltale hills everywhere they go. 

  • Mole hills are easily identifiable by their conical shape.

  • They also leave ridged tunnels all over your lawn.

  • Voles, also known as lawn rodents or field mice, create both above-ground and underground passageways in the soil.

  • Voles feed mostly on vegetation, causing damage to not only your grass but also to your gardens and flowerbeds.

  • If you are seeing destructive activity in your lawn in springtime, it is more likely a vole.

WHAT DO MOLES AND VOLES LOOK LIKE?

  • Moles are small mammals 5 to 8 inches long with dark gray or brown fur

  • Moles have long, narrow snouts, small eyes and no visible ears.

  • A mole's feet, nose and tail are pink and their front feet are equipped with well-developed claws that allow them to dig rapidly.

  • Moles live almost exclusively underground.

  • Voles are small rodents approximately 3 to 5 inches long.

  • Voles have thick, furry coats that can range in color from brown to gray

  • Voles have short tails and short legs.

ARE MOLES AND VOLES DANGEROUS?

  • Moles are generally not dangerous unless threatened.

  • It is advisable to keep your pets away from any mole hills to avoid mole bites.

  • Voles host fleas and ticks.

CAN MY YARD BE DAMAGED BY MOLES AND VOLES?

  • Moles can do great damage to lawns, landscaping and golf courses by tunneling, which destroys plant root systems. 

  • The ridged tunnels make lawn mowing difficult, and may cause trip-and-fall accidents

  • Voles destroy landscaping, killing as much as 50% of a lawn over a winter. 

  • Voles will also destroy flower beds, girdle fruit trees, and kill vegetable gardens from the roots up.

WHY ARE MOLES AND VOLES IN MY YARD?

  • Lawns that have a lot of worms, grubs, and beetle larvae are good hunting ground for moles.

  • Moles prefer soil that is shaded, cool, and moist because of plentiful worms and grubs and easy digging.

  • Moles typically make their home burrows in high, dry spots often under large trees, buildings or sidewalks.

  • Voles are attracted to landscaping with long grass, lots of ground cover and heavily mulched planting beds.

  • Grass or crops that are left long in the fall and then covered by snow can also attract voles.

  • Voles very rarely enter buildings, but may end up inside a building by accident.

WHAT DO MOLES AND VOLES EAT?

  • Moles are technically insectivores; not rodents.

  • Moles feed primarily on earthworms and white grubs, but will also eat millipedes, centipedes, beetles, spiders, and other insects that venture into their underground tunnels.

  • As the moles tunnel underground they uproot the soil and expose roots of trees, shrubs, plants and grass.

  • Moles eat from 70% to 100% of their weight each day. This is because they burn so much energy digging.

  • Voles like to nibble on the bark of fruit trees, ornamental plants, and plants in vegetable gardens.

  • They usually eat grasses and weeds, but they also relish insects like gypsy moths, snails, and the remains of dead animals.

  • In the fall, voles gather and store seeds, bulbs, tubers, and rhizomes.

WHAT IS THE LIFECYCLE OF MOLES AND VOLES?

The gestation period of moles is approximately 42 days.

  • Three to five young are born, mainly in March and early April.

  • The moles have only a few natural enemies because of their secluded life underground. Coyotes, dogs, badgers, and skunks dig out a few of them, and occasionally a cat, hawk, or owl surprises one above ground. Spring floods are probably the greatest danger facing adult moles and their young.

  •  A vole can have several litters of three to six young in a year.

  • Vole populations have natural peak cycles of 3-5 years.

  • Natural predators of voles include owls, foxes, wolves, weasels, shrews and snakes.