Moles - Biology & Control

Mole (Talpa europaea)
Rats

Origins and distribution

The European mole is found throughout the mainland of Britain and some offshore islands but absent from Ireland.

Characteristics

Moles have black velvety fur, small ears with no external ear flaps with its small eyes hidden amongst its fur. Moles have large forefeet which are spade like to aid digging. The tail is short and covered in hairs. Adults have a body length of approximately 12 – 16 cm from nose to the end of the tail, weighing between 70 – 110 grams.

Breeding

The breeding season is between February and June with only one litter per year consisting of 2 – 7 young. After a gestation period of 4 weeks the young are born blind leaving the nest when gaining maturity rapidly in 5 weeks. The average life span is 3 years.

Habits

Moles are solitary living almost entirely underground in a complex tunnel system covering an area up to 2000 square metres. Their diet consists largely of earthworms but includes slugs and insects, which are caught within the deep tunnels. The moles patrol within the tunnel system continually with activity periods of approximately 4 hours and approximately 4 hours of rest.

Signs of activity

Mole hills (excavated earth) situated on the surface of the ground.

Importance

Mole hills cause unevenness of the ground surface which presents a danger to horses and can damage machinery. Disfigurement of playing surfaces and lawns can cause weeds to grow and damage to crops in areas where these are grown by damaging the roots.

How we control Moles

Moles are controlled by either placing spring or scissor traps within the run or inserting gas pellets into the run with an applicator. Gas can only be used away from buildings and dissipates within hours, whereas traps can be left in position. Both can be effective in the control of moles and are subject to legislative requirements.

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