A mole is an animal that eats small insects, having a length of 5 to 21 cm and weighs from 9 to 170g.
Moles lives mostly in areas with high humidity such as on meadows, river banks, on edges of deciduous woods and in mixed forests.
Moles loves gardens, and they settle there. They like to live in gardens because gardens have loose, fertile soil and are rich in earthworms.
Moles usually dig open gardens with soft soil. This implies that in gardens that contain loose and easy soil, it’s hard to notice moles presence.
What does a mole look like?
Color: Black, black and brown or dark grey
Bites: Not poisonous
Nutrition: worms, larvae and insect dolls snails, slugs, centipedes and other.
Movement: do not fly
Size: 50–210 mm of an inch
Life span: up to 4 years
Region: Found throughout U.S. and other countries
Moles are naturally adaptive to live underground lives. This is made more possible with their dense cylindrical body, cone-shaped head with small, strong proboscis which makes them move quickly in underground tunnels. They have shortened forearms, and also large sharp and straight claws on their fingers. All their five fingers are well developed, and they brush surfaces of any material well. There is also another sixth finger that looks like a sickle cell bone which boosts the width they shovel as they dig deep into the soil.
Other animals have brushes that face down, but that of a mole are backwards and facing outward. The presence of velvet short, dense coat of their skin protects them from contact with the ground and allows them to easily and quickly move back and forth. Their hearing openings is covered with leathery crease, without auricles that protect them from littering the ground. Their small eyes are hidden by their fur and is of no use because the soil is dark and they can’t see in the dark. However, they have well-developed listening ability coupled with an excellent sense of smell and touch that aids them in finding food quickly.
As for tooth, their tooth system consists of 36-44 teeth. The teeth of a mole are sharp and in conical form, and the location in a moles mouth is similar to the way a crocodile’s teeth are arranged.The main natural food of a mole are earthworms, larvae, and pupae of adult insects that mostly live in the soil. Moles don’t touch vegetables and plants in the garden, yet they are blamed for ruining potatoes and other crops.
Moles spend an enormous amount of energy underground that needs to be constantly replenished.
What do moles eat?
Moles eat mainly invertebrates, with the largest part of their diet as earthworms. This fact is proven by significant research conducted. In the study, scientists caught some moles, opened their stomach and examined the contents of their belly.
Based on the result and outcome of such research, below are what were found in the stomachs of moles:
– Earthworms- more than 90% of the contents they found in the stomach of all the moles they caught are earthworms.
– Larva- about 6% of their stomachs content.
– Other insects such as millipedes and crustaceans (woodlouse) are approximately 3%.
– Leftover grains and soft parts of plants, tubers and roots — less than 1%.
From this research, it is found that moles eat earthworms as their primary food.
Conclusion: moles eat mostly earthworms and insect larvae, and also adults insects and invertebrates, but they rarely eat plant parts.
A mole’s permanent residence is in between 10-20cm deep or more. The excess land on the layer which a mole couldn’t lift it pushes it with power to the side. A mole’s broad forehead and short, muscular neck allows it to perform the hard work of burrowing nests.
During digging out the earth, the mole doesn’t see the surface, but it finds it easy because of its strong sense of smell and touch. At first, it moves the surface soil over its head, which is barely noticeable. This place then appears moist with friable soil and then it gradually lifts the hillock with short pauses.
If a ground is soft, moles doesn’t dig up land and throw it on the surface; rather it presses it against the wall of the soil. Therefore, the presence of the animal isn’t always noticeable. During the day, a mole breaks through an average of 20m new underground passages.
Moles build their nest very skillfully. Their nest is a small circular Chamber, located at a depth of 0.4-0.7 meters from the surface, often under the roots of a tree or bushes. The bottom of the nest is covered with leaves, fossil and dry grass. The nest is surrounded by two circular knots connected by the mole and crossing each other. This is where a mole sleeps and wakes and also raises its young.
Moles cannot be described as entirely harmful, but in the garden, they are better than some summer residents. Getting rid of a mole is a problem to every gardener!
Before you classify moles in the category of enemies and as harmful creatures, before you start to scare moles off your garden, let’s define if they are harmful or not. Moles have some benefits: they destroy harmful insects, dig up the soil, and most importantly they make their burrows very close to the surface of the ground, which is great for farmers because this enriches the soil with plant nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. However, the heaviest damages moles cause is on trees and berry, whose root system is severely affected by moles as they create their tunnels, forming a cavity, and this, in turn, can damage the roots of some garden crops.
How to get rid of a mole?
- Underground blockade:underground barrier is considered the most efficient way to get rid of moles. This should be created when building fences. So those that have newly purchased lands but haven’t built walls around should try out this method. The idea here is that when digging out the foundation, it is advisable to dig a trench not less than 40-50cm thick, and if possible extra. The extra meter depth should be added to keep moles away if they become so stubborn and tries to dig their way through the fence.
This additional metre should be filled with some debris like broken glass, metal mesh (affixed vertically), backfilling with stones or gravel and any other material that will injure the mole if it tries to force its way past the fence foundation. With this kind of wall in place, no mole can push its way through.
- Singing bottle:
to scare away moles, make use of glass bottle that has long tops, such as champagne bottles, cognac, etc. dig around the corner of the plant you want to protect from the attack of the underground moles. However, if moles are scattered all around the site, it is wise to bury the bottles around the perimeters of the whole compound. Bottles should be buried in the soil with the necks angle facing the direction and angle where the wind blows more often. During the windy weather, the glass starts singing and passes sound right through the soil.
- Mole repeller: an intense sound is produced from mole frightener. They are in the form of a plastic container, in which there are spaces for batteries, and there is an area from the top to trap solar energy.
This device emits a high-pitched squeak at certain intervals. Mole frighteners are buried in the ground, leaving just a tip above the soil surface. This makes the sound not to be heard from above the ground, except you bend down to hear it with your ear.The producers of this device claim that it covers up to 10meters from anywhere moles are located.
- Improvised noise makers:these as noise producers such as cans of drinks and beer which are hanged on reinforced metal bars. Each bar is driven to the centre of a moles hideout and holds up the overturned jar. At the slightest movement of the wind, the cans begin to swing, and this produces a loud metallic noise that is audible to the moles.
- Smelly plants:to keep the moles away, you can plant enough garden flowers in the backyard whose roots have strong stench and smell. These smelly flowers are royal and luxurious in nature and grows in the early spring.