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There are seven North American mole species: the eastern mole, hairy-tailed mole, star-nosed mole, broad-footed mole, Townsend’s mole, coast mole, and shrew mole. The most wide-ranging is the eastern mole, which is found from eastern Texas, north to southern South Dakota and eastward to the Atlantic Ocean.
Moles have a hairless, pointed snout and small eyes. The photo on the home page is that of an eastern mole. These animals are insectivores and feed primarily on grubs and earthworms. For the most part, moles live in seclusion and underground burrows and rarely come to the surface. These mammals are solitary and rarely do more than 2 or 3 moles occupy the same burrow system.
Moles have a very high metabolic rate and, therefore, have to consume large amounts of food. The home range of these insectivores is almost 20 times larger than that of a pocket gopher. Our experience in studies of moles on golf courses has shown that an infested area will contain about one mole per acre. Because of the extensive tunneling and length of the tunnels, it may appear that many moles occupy an area.
Moles dig elaborate tunnel systems and have feeding runways barely beneath the grass. That is why a mole on a golf green can stick out like a sore thumb. The ridge is elevated and easily visible. The tunnel system will have many yards of traveling tunnels within several inches of the ground surface. As the weather cools, moles will retreat into their deeper tunnels, up to 5 feet beneath the surface.
Moles tend to be very aggressive and will kill and consume voles or mice that may venture into their tunnels. Numerous studies have been conducted on the food habits of moles. The mammal will consume about 85% of its body weight in food daily. A study on eastern moles revealed that the majority of food found in the stomach contained white grubs and earthworm. Beetles, beetle larvae, and other larvae were also present. Ants, wasps, flies and other various insects were also noted.
For the most part, moles prefer moist soil with high populations of grubs and earthworms. That is why moles are often a menace on golf courses and lawns. As you fertilize and care for grass, this attracts worms and grubs, which in turn attracts moles and provides a food base for the mammal.
Moles are not social animals. The gestation period for moles is about 42 days and they have an average of 5 young in March to April. Because of their behavior, moles have few predators. It is a rare occasion to see a mole as it moves near a tunnel entrance.
For the most part, baits have been used to control moles. Most are ineffective since most of these products contain grain-based material. The food habits of animals dictate the bait type. We have maintained moles in captivity be feeding the animals wet cat food. Because of our studies we have been able to determine which bait additives are best preferred by moles and have incorporated them into the formula.
If you think you have a mole problem in your yard there is a simple technique to determine if a mole is the menace. Take the end of a broomstick and force it into the surface tunnel of the mole. Within 1-2 days if a mole is inhabiting the burrow, the hole will be neatly plugged with fresh dirt. Mark the spot where you punch the hole into the tunnel so you can be certain to locate where you punched the hole. If there is a mole present, then apply Kaput® Mole Gel Bait and follow the baiting instructions.