University of Maryland Extension

Moles - Lawns

mole tunnel

Damage to lawn

The Eastern mole is often thought to be a rodent. However, it is not a rodent, but an insectivore related to shrews and bats. Moles consume 70 to 100 percent of their body weight in insects (mostly grubs and worms) each day. They must eat constantly to maintain the energy used for digging. Although they appear to be blind, they can see with very small eyes. They have no external ears. The forefeet are large for digging tunnels under the soil line. Moles spend most of their lives underground, rarely coming to the surface. There may be several moles living in a lawn but they are believed to be loners, not living in groups.

A mole's food-searching runway is just beneath the surface of the soil. The burrows where they actually live are usually about eight inches below the surface. It is the system of shallow feeding tunnels in the lawn that causes distress for many homeowners. These shallow tunnels are easily detected by the presence of low ridges pushed up as they tunnel just under the surface. There are also mounds of fresh soil pushed up from below.

adult mole


To control mole problems use several mole traps set in the most recently constructed tunnels. To determine the best place to put a trap, press down portions of the tunnel. The next day, observe which areas have been raised. Where the soil has been raised is considered an active tunnel and the trap should be placed there. Natural predators of moles are snakes, and foxes.

fresh soil by mound
Mound of fresh soil pushed up by 

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