Understanding Moles Behavior for Effective Prevention

So, you wake up in the morning and stroll through your yard, only to notice raised areas of soil, mole tunnels, and damage to your prized plants. You’ve seen moles before, but why are they in your yard? What makes them behave the way they do? And most importantly, how can you effectively prevent them from wreaking havoc on your lawn and garden? In this article, we’ll explore the behavior of moles and provide step-by-step tips on identifying and preventing them from taking over your yard.

What are Moles and Why are They in Your Yard?

What Are Moles And Why Are They In Your Yard?
As you walk outside to enjoy the peaceful environment of your yard, have you ever noticed small tunnels, raised soil or molehills? If so, you may have a mole problem. Moles are fascinating creatures with unique behavior. Understanding moles behavior can be helpful in preventing them from taking over your yard. In this section of the article, we will discuss what moles are, and the reasons as to why they might be interested in your yard.

Moles are Insectivorous

Moles are fascinating creatures that can cause quite a bit of trouble in your yard. They are insectivorous, which means that they primarily feed on insects. This is great news for gardeners because they help keep the insect population under control. Unfortunately, it also means that they are attracted to healthy soil that is rich in insects.

So, what does it mean that moles are insectivorous? This means that their diet consists primarily of insects such as grubs, earthworms, and other small invertebrates. They have a high metabolic rate, which means that they need to consume a lot of food to maintain their energy levels. They can consume up to 70-100% of their body weight in food in a single day!

One thing to note is that moles do not eat plant material. This means that if you are experiencing damage to your plants, it is likely not caused by moles. Instead, you may be dealing with a different pest such as voles or rabbits. It’s important to correctly identify the culprit so that you can take the appropriate action to prevent further damage.

Fun fact: Moles are able to detect prey using their sense of smell and their hearing. They have a unique adaptation in their ears that allows them to hear low-frequency sounds that other animals are unable to detect. This helps them to locate their prey even when it’s buried deep beneath the soil.

Understanding moles’ behavior is crucial for effective prevention. By knowing what they eat and why they are attracted to certain areas, you can take steps to make your yard less appealing to them. For example, if you reduce the number of insects in your lawn, moles may be less likely to take up residence.

To learn more about moles and their behavior, check out our article on how their diet affects garden damage or read about their navigation skills in moles’ behavior and navigation.

Moles Prefer Loose Soil

Moles are fascinating creatures that can have a big impact on your yard. Understanding their behavior is key to preventing them from causing damage to your lawn and garden. One important thing to know is that moles prefer loose soil.

This makes sense when you consider that moles are digging creatures. They spend much of their time underground, tunneling through dirt and hunting for food. Loose soil is easier for them to move through, which is why they are often found in areas with sandy or loamy soil.

So, how can you take advantage of this behavior to prevent moles from destroying your yard? One option is to make the soil in your yard less attractive to moles. This can be done by compacting the soil in areas where you don’t want moles to dig. You can also make the soil less loose by adding heavier, clay-rich soil or by using mulch or other organic materials to create a denser texture.

It’s also important to know that moles are attracted to areas with lots of organic material. This includes areas with a lot of leaves, grass clippings, or other debris on the ground. If you can keep your yard clean and well-maintained, you can reduce the likelihood of moles taking up residence there.

In addition to knowing that moles prefer loose soil, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs that moles are in your yard. This includes things like molehills (small mounds of soil), raised soil, and tunnels running through your yard. By being vigilant and taking steps to prevent moles from establishing themselves, you can keep your yard looking beautiful and healthy.

Internal link: To learn more about moles digging behavior, click here.

Moisture is Attractive to Moles

Moisture in soil is considered an attractant for moles as it softens the soil, making it easy for them to dig tunnels. According to experts, moles have a unique ability to detect moisture in soil from great distances, making it easier for them to locate areas with higher moisture levels. Additionally, moisture in soil can also lead to increased insect activity, which is another reason why moles may be drawn to it.

It is important to note that not all moisture in soil is considered attractive to moles. For example, soil that is waterlogged and has poor drainage may not be as attractive to moles as soil with just the right amount of moisture.

If you’re having problems with moles in your yard, it may be helpful to look at the moisture levels in your soil. Using a moisture meter can help determine if moisture levels are too high or too low. Maintaining the proper moisture level in your soil can help reduce mole activity in your yard.

It is also important to note that factors such as rainfall and temperature can influence moisture levels in soil. For example, heavy rainfall can increase the moisture level in soil, leading to increased mole activity. On the other hand, a lack of rainfall can result in drier soil and potentially lead to decreased mole activity.

Understanding the impact of moisture on mole behavior can help homeowners take preventative measures to reduce mole activity in their yard. By monitoring moisture levels in soil and taking steps to maintain the proper balance of moisture, homeowners can help eliminate one of the factors that may be attracting moles to their yard.

Identifying Moles in Your Yard

Identifying Moles In Your Yard
As we’ve learned about what attracts moles to your yard, it’s important to know how to identify their presence. Moles have unique behavior that leaves telltale signs of their activity. Understanding how to distinguish molehills from other pests’ damage or signs of other lawn damage will enable you to take the appropriate steps in mole prevention. Let’s take a closer look at how to identify moles in your yard. To learn more about the difference between moles and voles, check out our article on moles vs voles.


Molehills are one of the telltale signs that you have moles in your yard. Molehills are conical mounds of soil that are pushed up to the surface by the mole as it digs its tunnels. The size and shape of the molehill can give you a clue as to which species of mole is responsible. Eastern moles typically create small hills that are about two to three inches in diameter and a few inches high. Star-nosed moles, on the other hand, create larger molehills that can be up to six inches in diameter and six inches high.

To determine if the molehill is active, look for fresh soil. If the soil is dry and crumbles easily, it is likely an old molehill. Active molehills will have moist soil that is darker in color. If the molehill is located near a plant or garden bed, it is likely that the mole is feeding on insects living in the soil.

It is important to note that not all raised soil is caused by moles. Other animals like voles, pocket gophers, and ground squirrels may also create raised soil. By identifying the specific characteristics of the soil disturbance, you can determine which animal is responsible and take appropriate action to prevent further damage.

If you are interested in learning more about the role of moles in the ecosystem, check out our article on Moles in the Ecosystem: Myth vs Fact or how weather patterns can affect mole behavior in our piece on Weather and Moles Behavior.

Raised Soil

One of the signs that you may have a mole problem in your yard is raised soil. This occurs when moles burrow underneath the ground, pushing up soil and creating a raised area on the surface. To properly identify this sign, it’s important to understand the difference between molehills and raised soil. Molehills are mounds of dirt that are created when moles dig surface tunnels, while raised soil is a larger, more dispersed area of rough, bumpy ground.

Raised soil can be a concern for the health of your lawn and garden. The roots of plants can be damaged by mole tunnels, which can lead to the plants drying out and eventually dying. Additionally, raised soil can create an uneven surface that can be hazardous if you’re walking or running around your yard.

To deal with raised soil caused by moles, there are a few options you can consider. One option is to simply flatten the area with a rake or roller, but this won’t solve the underlying problem of moles burrowing underneath. Another option is to make use of physical barriers or repellents, such as planting daffodils, alliums, or other plants that moles tend to avoid. However, keep in mind that while these methods may deter moles from one area, they may simply move the problem elsewhere in your yard.

Alternatively, you can try using traps to catch and remove the moles from your property. There are different types of traps, and it’s important to choose one that’s appropriate for the species of mole in your area. For example, a scissor trap is designed specifically to catch the common mole, while the harpoon trap is effective for larger species like the star-nosed mole.

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to act quickly to prevent further damage to your lawn and garden. Keep an eye out for raised soil, and always be sure to deal with the underlying issue of moles burrowing underneath.

Mole Tunnels

One way to identify the presence of moles in your yard is by looking for their tunnels. These tunnels are created by moles as they burrow underground in search of food. Here are some characteristics of mole tunnels to look out for:

  • Mole tunnels can be found near molehills. Molehills are mounds of soil that moles push up from their tunnels as they dig. Tunnels can often be found radiating out from these mounds.
  • Mole tunnels are typically straight and have a raised appearance. This is because moles create their tunnels by pushing soil up and to the sides as they dig. The raised appearance is caused by the fact that the soil in the tunnel is looser than the surrounding soil.
  • Mole tunnels can be located close to the surface of the soil. Moles typically dig their tunnels no more than a foot below the surface. This is because their primary food source, insects, tends to be located in the upper few inches of soil.
  • Mole tunnels can damage the roots of plants. As moles burrow underground, they can damage the roots of plants located in their path. This can cause injury or death to the plants.

Keep an eye out for these signs of mole activity in your yard. Identifying the presence of moles early on can help you take action to prevent further damage to your lawn and garden.

Mole Damage to Plants

Moles are not known to eat plants or their roots. However, they can cause extensive damage to your yard in search of insects and grubs. This can indirectly harm plants by exposing their roots, thereby making them vulnerable to other pests and diseases. Below is a table highlighting some of the signs of mole damage to plants:

Signs of Mole Damage to Plants Description
Exposed Roots As moles dig their tunnels, they can uproot plants, causing their roots to become exposed.
Wilting Plants Plants that have had their roots exposed may wilt due to the loss of moisture and nutrients.
Dying Plants If the damage is severe, the plants may eventually die due to a lack of root stability and access to water and nutrients.

It’s important to note that not all plant damage is caused by moles. Other pests, diseases, and environmental factors can also harm plants in your yard. It’s important to properly identify the source of the damage before taking action.

Preventing Moles in Your Yard

As you may have noticed, moles are not the type of guests you want in your yard. These little critters can cause a lot of damage to your lawn and garden, not to mention the unsightly molehills that they leave behind. To prevent moles from taking over your yard, there are several prevention methods you can use. From eliminating their preferred food sources to using physical barriers and traps, there are several ways to keep moles away. In this section, we will explore the different methods for preventing moles in your yard, so you can have a healthy and beautiful landscape.

Don’t Over-Water Your Lawn

Over-watering your lawn can attract moles to your yard. Moles are attracted to moist soil as it makes it easier for them to dig tunnels and find their preferred food source of insects. However, watering your lawn is still necessary for the health of your grass. Finding the right balance is key.

What to do: | Why it helps:
— | —
Water deeply and infrequently | Deep watering encourages deeper roots and helps the grass tolerate dry periods. Infrequent watering reduces the moisture level in the soil and discourages the presence of moles.
Water in the morning | Watering in the morning allows the grass to absorb the moisture before the heat of the day evaporates it. This prevents the soil from staying damp for too long, which can attract moles.
Use a rain gauge | A rain gauge helps you keep track of how much water your yard is receiving. This ensures that you are not over-watering and creating a moist environment for moles.
Fix any leaks | If you notice any leaks in your irrigation system, fix them promptly. Moist soil from a leaky irrigation system can attract moles to your yard.

Eliminate Grubs and Insects

One effective way to prevent moles in your yard is by eliminating grubs and insects, which are among their primary food sources. Here are some tips on how to do it:

Tip Description
Apply insecticides Consider using insecticides that specifically target grubs and other soil-dwelling insects. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label and use protective equipment when handling chemicals.
Encourage natural predators Encourage natural predators of grubs and other soil insects, such as birds, toads, and snakes, to frequent your yard. Provide suitable habitats and food sources to attract them to your yard.
Practice good lawn maintenance Maintain a healthy lawn by regularly mowing, fertilizing, and aerating it. A healthy lawn is less attractive to grubs and other soil insects, which tend to infest weak and stressed lawns.
Remove thatch and dead grass Thatch and dead grass provide a favorable habitat for grubs and other soil insects. Rake and remove them regularly to discourage insect infestations.

By eliminating grubs and insects in your yard, you not only reduce the food source for moles but also improve the overall health and appearance of your lawn.

Plant Deterrents

Plants can be used as a natural way to deter moles from your yard. Here are some plant options and their benefits:

Plant Benefits
Daffodils The bulbs of daffodils contain lycorine, which is toxic to moles if ingested.
Fritillarias The bulbs of fritillarias also contain toxins that are unpleasant for moles, deterring them from your yard.
Cape Daisies Cape daisies, also known as osteospermum, are a colorful option that moles dislike due to their strong smell.
Mole Plant The mole plant, or Euphorbia lathyris, emits a strong scent that moles find unpleasant. However, it is important to note that the plant is also poisonous and should not be consumed by humans or pets.

These plants should be planted strategically around the perimeter of your yard or in areas where mole activity is high. While plant deterrents may not completely eliminate mole activity, they can help reduce the likelihood of moles damaging your yard. It is important to research and properly plant these deterrents, as some can be toxic to pets or humans if ingested.

Install a Physical Barrier

One effective method of preventing moles in your yard is by installing a physical barrier.
Here are some examples of physical barriers:

  • Hardware Cloth – This is made of metal wire mesh and can be buried in the soil to prevent moles from burrowing underneath. It should be buried at least a foot deep and extend up to six inches above the soil.
  • Underground Fencing – This is a specialized fencing system that can be buried up to a foot deep to prevent moles from burrowing underneath. It’s an effective method, but it can be quite costly.
  • Rock Barriers – These are made of large rocks or paving stones that are placed in a line around the perimeter of the lawn. Moles will avoid areas with hard surfaces, so this can be a deterrent.

It’s important to note that physical barriers need to be installed properly to be effective. The barrier should be installed deep enough to prevent the moles from burrowing underneath, and high enough to prevent them from climbing over. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the barrier does not extend into areas where you want the moles to go, such as flower beds or vegetable gardens.

Use Traps

Trapping is one effective way to get rid of moles in your yard. It involves placing traps in areas where moles are active. Traps come in different types and models, such as scissor-jaw, harpoon, and choker loop traps.

Here are some tips for using traps:

  • Place traps in areas where you’ve observed the most activity, such as near fresh mole hills or raised soil.
  • Wear gloves when handling traps so that your scent doesn’t deter moles from approaching them.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure that you set up the traps correctly and increase your chances of success.
  • Check traps regularly, at least once a day, to see if you’ve caught any moles. The longer you leave traps unattended, the more likely it is for the moles to become wary and avoid them.
  • If you catch a mole, dispose of it properly and reset the trap in the same area. Moles often live in colonies, so there may be more than one in your yard.

It’s important to note that trapping can be time-consuming and requires patience and persistence. Although it may be tempting to resort to poison baits or chemicals, these can be harmful to other wildlife and pets. They may be less effective since moles primarily feed on live insects and earthworms. By using traps, you can safely and effectively control the mole population in your yard.


In conclusion, dealing with moles in your yard can be a frustrating and challenging experience. However, by understanding their behavior and preferences, you can take steps to prevent their presence and minimize damage to your lawn and garden.

Effective prevention measures include avoiding over-watering your lawn, which can make the soil more attractive to moles, as well as eliminating grubs and insects, which are a food source for them. Additionally, planting deterrents such as daffodils, marigolds, and alliums can help keep moles away, as can installing physical barriers like mesh or wire mesh. Traps can also be effective, but they require careful handling to avoid harming the animal.

Identifying mole activity is key to addressing the issue early on, and can be done by looking for molehills, raised soil, mole tunnels, and damage to plants. By recognizing these signs and taking action promptly, you can prevent mole damage from escalating and reduce the amount of time and effort needed to address the issue.

Remember that moles are not inherently harmful creatures, and their presence can even have benefits for your yard by aerating the soil and controlling insects. However, if their behavior is causing damage or endangering other animals, it’s important to take appropriate action to ensure the health and safety of your yard.

By taking a proactive approach and implementing effective prevention strategies, you can minimize the impact of moles and maintain a healthy, vibrant yard.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do moles typically live?

On average, moles live for about 2-3 years in the wild.

Are moles harmful to humans?

No, moles are not harmful to humans. They are primarily insectivores and do not pose a direct threat to people.

Do moles hibernate?

No, moles do not hibernate. They are active year-round and may tunnel deeper in the winter to avoid freezing temperatures.

Can moles damage underground utility lines?

Yes, mole tunnels can potentially damage underground utility lines, so it’s important to address mole activity in a timely manner.

Do certain types of soil attract moles more than others?

Yes, moles prefer loose soil that is easy to excavate, making sandy or loamy soils more attractive to them.

Can flooding drive out moles from their tunnels?

No, flooding is generally ineffective at driving moles out of their tunnels as they can quickly create new ones or move deeper into the soil.

Are there any natural predators of moles?

Yes, some predators of moles include owls, hawks, snakes, and foxes.

Is it true that moles have poor eyesight?

Yes, moles have poor eyesight but they make up for it with their acute sense of smell and hearing to navigate their underground tunnels and locate prey.

Can ultrasonic devices effectively repel moles from your yard?

There is limited evidence to suggest that ultrasonic devices can repel moles, and results may vary depending on the specific device and individual moles.

Can mole activity indicate other underlying lawn issues?

Yes, mole activity may indicate other lawn issues such as excess thatch, poor drainage, or an overabundance of grubs and insects. Addressing these issues can help prevent future mole activity.