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Moles live underground in tunnels under your lawn. As moles dig continuously in search of prey, their tunneling creates meandering ridges on the surface.
Moles feed on worms — 85 percent of their diet — and insects. Searching for food, they literally swim through the soil by digging with their short, outward-facing, spade-like front feet.
Two species of moles can be found in Minnesota. The eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus) is typically only found in the southeast fourth of the state. The starnose mole (Condylura cristata) can be found in low, wet areas of Minnesota’s northern forests.
- Damages Landscapes
More About Moles
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE MOLES?
- Moles leave their telltale hills everywhere they go.
- Mole hills are easily identifiable by their conical shape.
- They also leave ridged tunnels all over your lawn.
WHAT DO MOLES LOOK LIKE?
- Moles live almost exclusively underground, so they are rarely seen.
- Moles are small mammals 6 to 7 inches long with dark gray or brown fur.
- Moles have long, narrow snouts, small eyes, and no visible ears.
- A mole’s feet, nose and tail are pink and their front feet are equipped with well-developed claws that allow them to dig rapidly.
- Starnose moles have 22 pink tentacles on the tip of the nose, dark brown or black fur, and a hairy tail. (The starnose mole is functionally blind and uses the star-shaped appendage to feel its way around and to identify prey.)
ARE MOLES DANGEROUS?
- Moles are generally not dangerous unless threatened.
- It is advisable to keep your pets away from any mole hills to avoid mole bites.
CAN MY YARD BE DAMAGED BY MOLES?
- Yes, moles can do great damage to lawns, landscaping, and golf courses by tunneling, which destroys plant root systems.
- The ridged tunnels make lawn mowing difficult, and may cause trip-and-fall accidents.
WHY ARE MOLES IN MY YARD?
- Lawns that have a lot of worms, grubs, and beetle larvae are good hunting ground for moles.
- Moles prefer soil that is shaded, cool, and moist because of plentiful worms and grubs and easy digging.
- Moles typically make their home burrows in high, dry spots often under large trees, buildings, or sidewalks.
WHAT DO MOLES EAT?
- Moles are technically an insectivore (eats insects); not a rodent.
- Moles feed primarily on earthworms and white grubs, but will also eat millipedes, centipedes, beetles, spiders, and other insects that venture into their underground tunnels.
- As the moles tunnel underground, they uproot the soil and expose roots of trees, shrubs, plants, and grass.
- Moles have a high metabolism rate and eat from 70% to 100% of their weight each day. This is because they burn so much energy digging.
WHAT IS THE LIFECYCLE OF MOLES?
- The gestation period of moles is approximately 42 days.
- Three to five young are born, mainly in March and early April.
- Moles are solitary animals. They only meet to reproduce; then spread apart. Therefore, you could have in average three to five moles per acre.
- Moles have only a few natural enemies because of their secluded life underground. Coyotes, dogs, badgers, and skunks dig out a few of them, and occasionally a cat, hawk, or owl surprises one above ground. Spring floods are probably the greatest danger facing adult moles and their young.