What are they?
The adult mole is 12 to 20 cm (4.5 to 8 inches) long and has dark grey or brown velvety fur. Its eyes are small and its broad front feet have strong claws for digging in soil.
Moles are insectivores. Most do not eat plants, but feed mainly on earthworms, insects, and grubs. Some moles may damage tubers and the roots of garden plants. But any plant damage is most likely incidental, or may be blamed on other small herbivores using the tunnel.
Voles look like house mice, but have a shorter tail, a rounded muzzle and head, and small ears. Like all rodents, voles have a single pair of large chisel-like incisors in their upper jaw that continue to grow as the tips wear away. The vole has a dark brown coat with a greyish belly that turns white in the winter. In contrast, the house mouse is uniformly grey.
Voles search for green plants and seeds during the day or night, and in winter, they travel in tunnels beneath the insulating snow, making round holes in the snow when coming up to the surface.
Should I be concerned?
The mole can be considered beneficial in some ways since it eats insects, including grubs, other insect larvae, and slugs. Moles also feed on earthworms, and some will even eat small snakes and mice.
But the mole and its tunnels can damage lawns, gardens, parks, golf courses, and cemeteries. They can kill plants when tunnelling by removing soil around roots (the unprotected roots then dry out and die). Plant diseases may also be spread by the mole's movements. Pests like voles, field mice, and other rodents use these tunnels to feed on exposed roots.
Moles do not hibernate. They remain active day or night all year long. During the winter, the mole looks for food deep below the frost line. Most surface activity happens in the spring and fall. Moles are solitary animals, and it is likely that only one or two moles are responsible for the damage to your lawn or garden.
Read more for management tips…
(source: Government of Canada)