Mole Magic

I came upon 2 dead moles on my walk this morning (cause of death uncertain).  Some might celebrate, but I felt sad. These small almost blind creatures have always fascinated me with their adaptations to underground living.  Here are some interesting facts on moles…

  • Moles can dig up to 18 feet in one hour with strong curved front paws.
  • Moles don’t hibernate.
  • They have an excellent sense of smell but they are almost blind, their small eyes covered in fur.
  • They paralyze worms and insects with poison in their saliva and store them in their underground burrows.
  • Their fur has no nap.  It can go forward or backward to facilitate movement in their tunnels.
  • Moles help to aerate and fertilize the soil.
  • They eat insects harmful to grass and shrubs and their grubs along with earthworms (unfortunately).
  • They do NOT eat the roots of plants.
  • Moles are not rodents but in a classification all their own (Talpidae).

Moles get a bad rap from their unsightly mounds left on your lawn or by causing havoc in your garden beds.  Admittedly the latter has been a deal-breaker for me.  Moles are a natural part of the ecosystem and nature can be messy. Remember- in that messiness is a purpose in the web of life that some humans may not appreciate.

The easiest way to deal with moles in your lawn is to lower your standards and adopt new ones.  Instead of looking out on your lawn and seeing ugly, reframe the scene into “fabulous, our lawn is being aerated!” Collect the dirt they have piled up celebrating that rich potting soil you just got for free.

 If that approach is not working for you, (especially if your dog is trying to mitigate the situation) try trapping them, using repellants, or providing barriers to their runs.  DO NOT USE POISON!  This will only harm your pets or wildlife that might feed on the moles.  My problem in my garden was solved by a predator, namely a stray cat that took up residence in my barn.  Thank you kitty!

Here is an informative video on moles if you are interested in finding out more about these interesting creatures. There is some great footage of them underground!

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