Rarely seen above ground due to the elaborate tunnel systems that they produce and live in underground. Common, but not so popular in gardens due to the large molehills that they make!
Moles will breed between February and June but other than that they remain solitary and will become aggressive if face with another mole. A gestation period of 4 weeks follows with a litter of between 2 and 7 babies is normal and will become weaned between 4 to 5 weeks of age. Moles live for about three years, do not hibernate and are active all year round.
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- Eyes and ears are generally not visible
- Soft velvet like black coat
- Spade like pink feet
- Molehills indicate their presence
Latin name: Talpa europaea
In The Garden
Moles are unfortunately persecuted in a lot of gardens due to the mole hills that they produce. However moles are a sign that your garden in healthy and plentiful in earth worms and bugs, but they do not like well compacted, stoney or acidic soils. If you can bear to leave the mole hills where they are it s likely the mole responsible will not make any new ones after a while, if you disturb them they are likely to keep making new ones. However if you must remove them it makes wonderful compost!
If you can bear to have moles in your wildlife garden you can buy live catch traps but these are not recommended as moles have such a fast metabolic rate and need food very regularly; not checking on the traps regularly enough may result in a dead mole. An old wives tail is to bury a glass milk bottle in the soil, this is said to discourage them as is planting a mothball in the mole hill (although this may kill other useful microorganisms in the soil too). You can also buy sonic repellers and ‘windmills’ which are said to discourage moles.
Did you know…?
- Eyes are only the size of pin heads – who needs eyes when you live underground!
- Extremely sensitive noses – they use these to hunt with.
- The mole is closely related to the hedgehog and shrews.
- In medieval times it was called a moldewarp (earth thrower)