Facts About Moles
Thursday, 21st June 2018
Moles can live up to 3-5 years feeding on earthworms and insects but did you know that when moles first occupy a new area they will test it to see if food is present. By making a surface tunnel, which is quick and easy to dig, they then can detect how much food is nearby. If hardly any food is present, then the mole will move on to a new area.
If, however, food is in good supply, a mole will dig an extensive tunnel system on many levels compressing down the sides and floor. When digging near to the surface, they push any excess soil upwards to get rid of it. Don’t confuse a rat burrow with a mole tunnel – rats have worn pathways towards the entrance whereas mole tunnels are always blocked with a hill.
They are quite small creatures, only around 6 inches long, which is surprising considering the size of some molehills. Apart from the breeding season, which is in April, moles usually live alone and will defend their tunnel system with some heartfelt aggression.
You may wonder how they breathe living virtually underground- well, moles have adapted to live in a low oxygen environment even blocking up any open tunnel to prevent fresh air from filling up their passageways.
If during winter the ground where they live becomes submerged, and although being able to swim very well, they will move to drier ground which is why in winter you may see more molehills being formed.
Discover more about the mole, the mammal that lives an underground lifestyle
voles or moles tunnels under bird feeder
I have been fighting moles and voles for some time now and I have not had very effective results. I have tried the baiting, smoking them out, traps of all types and yet I seem to have a knack at growing the population. They are concentrated around our bird feeder so I believe it is the seed they are after. However I carefully bait the holes, cover them so as not to disturb the ground any more than needed.
Enclosed is a picture of current damage in the area. What would you suggest short of getting rid of the bird feeder? If you look at the records of what I have purchased over the last 3 years to get rid of these unwanted guests, I have been serious at it. I have at times abated their numbers. However, I think feral cats may have helped more as well as a fox or two, and a number of snakes. I have moved the feeder to a location so the lawn in front of the holly plants can become lawn again but, it has been a slow process. So what would you suggest? Thanks.
What the pictures show is most likely VOLES. I had these under my bird feeder too and not surprisingly, I had local cats and coyotes harvesting the voles too! I also started attracting CHIPMUNKS which present a whole new array of potential issues. Here’s what I did to alleviate the problem.
I first installed what I refer to as a “catch tray”. This is a small pie pan thats wider than my feeder and hung from the bottom. Basically it catches the seed which feeding birds miss or push aside. I use a wild bird seed mix and every species of bird seems to like some but not all of the seeds available. That means there is a lot of waste being pushed to the ground and based on the pics you sent, it would appear the same thing is happening to you.
Once I installed the catch tray, I found most of the seed started getting caught. Cardinals and other birds learned to use the tray so this turned out to be an efficient way to handle the messy seeds and prevent unwanted varmints from coming around.
But I also knew it wouldn’t take care of the active voles and chipmunks still around. For them I went with the TUNNEL TRAPS listed in our article. They’re ideal for this application but a little tricky. For most people, getting 5-6 MOUSE TRAPS with the expanded trigger will prove easier to use. Don’t use the ones with the regular metal trigger – only the expanded trigger will work for voles. If you bait them with PECAN PASTE and then drop seed over them, you’ll be making a set no vole can refuse.
Now I know you’re probably thinking this will be a hazard to the birds and you’re right. So to prevent birds from being caught, all you have to do is place a garbage pail lid or box over the traps. Remember, this is not a permanent situation so eventually all these items will be removed. But for the time being, the traps and cover will be needed. And using the lid will really help here because voles don’t like light. By covering their holes you’ll get them to surface and feed almost immediately too so you should get ahold of the problem right away. Start checking the traps once a day, like every morning, and you’ll soon catch them all.
Once you don’t catch any for 7 days, you can proceed with sealing their tunnels because at that point you will have gotten them all. Before you do, pour at least 1 pint of RED FOX URINE down the tunnels and then dress them out with top soil making sure all the voids, dens and tunnels are filled. The urine won’t bother the birds but will definitely deter moles, rats, mice, voles, chipmunks and most any small animal from coming around. And with the catch pan catching most any seed that falls, there should be little to no chance of re-infestation.
I have been fighting moles and voles for some time now and I have not had very effective results. I have tried the baiting, smoking them out, traps of all