Moles and their Diet: Understanding Behavior

As you gaze out at your lush garden, something catches your eye beneath the surface of the soil. It’s a mole! These small, furry creatures can wreak havoc on your lawn and garden, causing damage that is not only unsightly but also potentially costly. But how much do you really know about moles and their behavior? And more importantly, how can you prevent them from ruining your hard work? In this article, we’ll dive into the world of moles and their diet, exploring the impact they can have on your garden and providing practical tips for keeping them at bay. So let’s dig in!

The Importance of Understanding Moles’ Diet

The Importance Of Understanding Moles' Diet
Understanding the diet of moles is crucial for preventing damage to your garden. These small, furry creatures have a significant impact on the health and appearance of lawns and gardens. In order to effectively prevent damage caused by moles, it is essential to understand their feeding habits and patterns, as well as the relationship between their diet and behavior. Knowing what moles eat and why they eat it can help gardeners create an unfavorable environment for moles, and encourage the presence of natural predators. Let’s explore the importance of understanding moles’ diet, and the steps you can take to prevent damage to your garden. For more information about moles’ behavior and navigation, check out our article on mole behavior and navigation.

Moles’ impact on your garden

Moles are insectivores that are often found burrowing underground in search of food. Although they might seem harmless, moles can have a serious impact on your garden due to their digging behavior. Here are some ways that moles can negatively affect your garden:

  • Soil disruption: As moles dig their tunnels, they can cause the soil in your garden to become loose and unstable. This can uproot plants and make it difficult for new ones to take root. The tunnels can also create small hills or raised areas in your garden, which may not be aesthetically pleasing.
  • Damaged plants: When moles are searching for food, they may accidentally damage plant roots or bulbs. This can cause plants to wilt or die, which can be frustrating for gardeners who have put a lot of effort into cultivating their gardens.
  • Increased pest activity: Moles’ digging behavior can attract other pests, such as voles or mice, which can also do damage to your garden. These pests are often drawn to the areas where moles have disturbed the soil.

It’s important to understand the impact of moles on your garden so that you can take steps to prevent damage. By learning about moles’ behavior and their diet, you can take a proactive approach to protecting your garden. Check out our article on mole behavior and prevention for more information.

The relationship between diet and behavior

The way moles eat is tightly connected to their behavior, and by understanding it, we can possibly prevent them from damaging our gardens. Moles are carnivorous, feeding primarily on insects, worms, and grubs. They use their keen sense of smell to locate their prey by following their tunnels and listening for movement. Because their diet consists mainly of insects and other small creatures, they are known as an excellent form of natural pest control.

However, moles require a lot of food to sustain their high metabolism, and as a result, they can cause significant damage to lawns and gardens in their never-ending quest for food. They are especially fond of gardens, root vegetables, and flower beds, where they might sustain their diet with earthworms, larvae, and other insects underneath the soil. This is why understanding their diet is crucial in preventing them from damaging our crops and gardens.

By understanding the connection between their diet and behavior, we can also understand their preferences for certain environments. For example, if your garden is rich in insects and worms, moles will be more likely to dig through your soil looking for them. Similarly, if the soil in your garden is dry and hard, moles will have a harder time digging and may move on to find more favorable soil elsewhere.

To further complicate things, moles are highly sensitive to environmental factors, such as temperature, moisture, and soil pH, which can also affect their feeding habits and behavior. For example, moles may be more active during periods of high humidity and low temperatures, and less active during dry spells or heatwaves. This information is essential when it comes to implementing preventative measures to protect your garden from their digging behavior.

Understanding the relationship between moles’ diet and behavior can help us better protect our gardens and crops from their destructive tendencies. By implementing the preventative measures outlined in this article, such as creating an unfavorable environment for moles or encouraging natural predators, we can reduce the risk of damage caused by these small creatures.

What do Moles Eat?

What Do Moles Eat?
As gardeners and homeowners, it’s important to understand what kind of wildlife we share our space with. Moles, for example, are fascinating creatures that play an essential role in their ecosystem. Knowing what moles eat is crucial when it comes to preventing damage to your garden and lawn. Their diet is unique and specific to their behavior, which requires a certain level of understanding to manage them effectively. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the types of food moles eat and their feeding habits and patterns. By the end of this section, you’ll have a better understanding of what attracts moles to your garden and lawn.

Types of food

Moles are insectivores, which means their **diet mainly consists of insects and other invertebrates**. They use their excellent sense of smell to find food in the soil. Moles have a high metabolic rate, so they need to consume large amounts of food to maintain their energy levels. Below are some of the types of food that moles consume:

  • Earthworms: Moles love earthworms and will eat their body weight in them every day. Earthworms are high in protein and provide moles with the energy they need.
  • Insects: Moles eat a wide variety of insects, including grubs, beetles, ants, and spiders. They can detect the vibrations made by insects moving in the soil.
  • Small rodents: Although not a significant part of their diet, moles will eat small rodents if they come across them. This includes mice, shrews, and voles.
  • Plant roots: Moles may sometimes inadvertently eat plant roots while digging their tunnels. However, they do not actively seek out roots as a food source.

It is important to note that moles do not eat plants or seeds, so they are not responsible for damage to plants in your garden. However, their **digging behavior** can uproot plants and damage their root systems. Understanding a mole’s diet is essential when implementing a strategy to prevent damage to your garden. Knowing what they eat and how they obtain their food can help you make an informed decision about the best course of action to take.

Feeding habits and patterns

Moles are known for their unique feeding habits and patterns. They are not herbivores and do not feed on plants or vegetables. Instead, moles are insectivores and feed heavily on insects, earthworms, and other small invertebrates. This makes them important to the ecosystem because they help keep insect populations in check.

Moles have high metabolic rates, so they feed often and heavily. They consume food equal to their body weight every day. Moles do not store food like some other animals, so they must consistently find their next meal.

Feeding patterns
Moles are active throughout the day and night, but they have feeding patterns that depend on the availability of food. They are most active during the early morning and late evening hours. This is when they are able to find the most prey, especially during the warmer months when insect populations are high.

Preferred prey
Moles prefer to feed on specific types of prey. Their favorite foods are earthworms, grubs, and insect larvae. They also eat spiders, ants, and other soil-dwelling insects. Moles have a strong sense of smell which helps them locate their prey. They dig through the soil using their powerful front paws and their sensitive noses to find prey.

It’s important to note that moles do not eat vegetation or plant roots. If you notice damage to your plants or vegetables, it’s more likely to be the work of voles or other rodents. Knowing the difference between moles and voles can help you prevent damage to your garden.

Understanding the feeding habits and patterns of moles can help you develop effective strategies for preventing damage to your garden. Creating an unfavorable environment for moles or encouraging their natural predators are just a few ways to deter them from making a home in your garden. To learn more about the behavior and impact of moles in the ecosystem, read our article on Moles in the Ecosystem: Myth vs Fact. Also, learn how weather can affect their behavior by reading our article on Weather and Moles Behavior.

Why do Moles Eat What They Eat?

Why Do Moles Eat What They Eat?
As we marvel at the wide range of foods that moles consume, it’s natural to wonder why they eat what they eat. Their preference for underground-dwelling insects and invertebrates is not random; rather, it is a manifestation of their highly specialized diet that has evolved over millions of years. Understanding why moles consume certain types of food can provide insight into their behavior and help us better protect our gardens from their destructive tendencies. Knowing the rationale behind their diet can help us differentiate moles from other garden pests, such as voles. To learn more about the differences between these two animals, check out our article on Moles vs. Voles: Understanding the Difference in Prevention.

Their natural environment

Moles have a unique natural environment that plays a crucial role in determining their diet. They are found in most parts of the world, particularly in grasslands, woodlands, and gardens. In their natural environment, moles feed on a variety of food sources, including insects, grubs, and earthworms.

Soil: Moles spend most of their lives underground in soil, where they have adapted to a life of digging and burrowing. Soil provides shelter for moles, as well as a habitat for their prey. Moles have specially adapted front paws that allow them to tunnel through soil quickly, and they create complex networks of tunnels and chambers underground.

Insects: Insects are a primary source of food for moles in their natural environment. They consume a variety of insects, such as ants, beetles, and termites, that live in the soil. Moles use their keen sense of smell to locate their prey and dig tunnels directly to the source.

Grubs: Grubs are also a significant source of food for moles. Grubs are the larvae of beetles, and they are often found in the soil beneath the grass. Moles can detect the presence of grubs by smell and will dig tunnels to access them.

Earthworms: Earthworms are a staple food for moles. They have high protein content, and their long, slender bodies make them easy to swallow. Moles dig tunnels beneath the soil, slicing through earthworms with their sharp teeth as they go.

Understanding a mole’s natural environment is essential in determining how to prevent damage to your garden. By learning about their diet, you can take measures to discourage moles from digging in your garden and protect your plants.

How their diet helps them survive

Moles have a unique diet that allows them to survive and thrive in their natural environment. Their diet consists primarily of insects, grubs, earthworms, and other small invertebrates. These animals are high in protein, which is necessary for the development and maintenance of their muscular bodies. The following are some ways in which their diet helps them survive:

  • Digestive system: Moles have a very efficient digestive system that allows them to extract as much nutrition as possible from their food. Their small intestines have numerous folds and villi that increase the surface area for nutrient absorption.
  • Burrowing: Moles are well adapted for burrowing and spend most of their time underground. Their long, pointed snouts and powerful forelimbs allow them to tunnel through soil and locate their prey. Their diet of small invertebrates also enables them to find food in the soil.
  • Energy: Moles have a high metabolism, which provides them with the energy they need to maintain their active lifestyle. In fact, they need to eat every few hours to sustain their energy levels. Their diet of protein-rich invertebrates helps to fuel their bodies and support their burrowing activities.
  • Water: Moles obtain most of the water they need from their food. Insects and other invertebrates have relatively high water content, which means that moles are able to extract the water they need to survive.
  • Reproduction: Moles have a short breeding season and produce one litter of 3 to 5 young per year. The high protein content of their diet is essential for the growth and development of their offspring.

Moles are well adapted for their subterranean lifestyle, and their diet plays an important role in their survival. Their efficient digestive system, burrowing abilities, high metabolism, water needs, and reproductive success are all influenced by the types of food that they eat. Understanding their diet can help you prevent damage to your garden and appreciate the important role that they play in the ecosystem.

Preventing Damage to your Garden

As gardeners and homeowners, we understand the frustration and disappointment that comes with a mole invasion. These small animals can wreak havoc on our hard-earned gardens and lawns with their constant digging and tunneling. While we can appreciate their role in aerating the soil and controlling insect populations, the destruction they leave behind can be overwhelming. In this section, we will explore effective strategies and techniques for preventing damage to your garden caused by moles. Let’s dive in and explore the options available to us to protect our outdoor spaces.

Physical barriers and repellents

To prevent damage to your garden caused by moles, there are several physical barriers and repellents you can try. These methods are often effective in keeping moles at bay and protecting your plants and grass from their destructive behavior.

Physical barriers

Physical barriers are structures that prevent moles from entering your garden or lawn. The most common physical barriers include:

Barrier Description
Wire mesh A wire mesh barrier can be placed around your garden bed or lawn, preventing moles from burrowing into the soil.
Burying a fence Burying a fence several inches below the soil surface can also be an effective barrier against moles.
Hardware cloth Hardware cloth is a strong metal mesh that can be installed around the perimeter of your garden or lawn area.


Mole repellents work by creating an unpleasant environment for moles that causes them to leave your garden or lawn. There are several types of mole repellents available, including:

Repellent Description
Castor oil-based repellents Castor oil-based repellents are a common choice for homeowners. These repellents contain castor oil and other natural ingredients, which create an unpleasant environment for moles.
Ultrasonic repellents Ultrasonic repellents emit high-frequency sound waves that are unpleasant for moles. These devices are often battery-operated and can be placed in your garden or lawn area.
Chemical repellents Chemical repellents can be a more potent option for homeowners. These repellents contain chemicals that create an unpleasant environment for moles and can be effective in keeping them away.

It’s important to note that while physical barriers and repellents can be effective, they are not foolproof. If moles continue to be a problem in your garden, it may be necessary to try other methods, such as encouraging natural predators or creating an unfavorable environment for moles.

Encouraging natural predators

One effective way to prevent damage to your garden caused by moles is to encourage natural predators that prey on these burrowing pests. By attracting animals that are natural predators of moles, you can control the population in a safe and environmentally friendly way.

Here are some potential predators that help control mole populations and how to attract them:

Predator Description How to Attract
Owls Owls are nocturnal predators that feed on a variety of small mammals, including moles. Install an owl nesting box or perch in your yard to attract them. They are also attracted to open areas with short grass, so mowing your lawn regularly can help as well.
Cats Cats are natural hunters and can help control mole populations in small areas. Encourage feral or outdoor cats to visit your yard. You can do this by leaving food and water out for them or by installing a small shelter for them to rest in.
Snakes Snakes are another natural predator of moles and can help control their population. Encourage snakes to visit your yard by creating a habitat for them. This can include adding brush piles or rocks to your garden where they can hide, or by installing a snake nesting box.

By encouraging these natural predators, you can create a healthier ecosystem in your garden while also controlling the mole population. It’s important to note that you should never use harmful pesticides or chemicals to control moles, as this can harm the environment and other animals in your garden. Instead, focus on natural methods such as encouraging predators and creating an unfavorable environment for moles.

Creating an unfavorable environment for moles

Controlling the environment in which moles live is a crucial step in preventing damage to your garden. There are several ways you can create an unfavorable environment for moles, so they are less likely to inhabit your yard.

1. Soil pH: Moles prefer to live in soils with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. Maintaining a soil pH outside of this range can discourage moles from making a home in your yard. You can test the pH of your soil using a soil test kit available at garden centers or online.

2. Soil density: Moles prefer softer, looser soil that is easier to tunnel through. To discourage moles from digging in your garden, try adding heavier soils such as clay or sand to your garden beds.

3. Moisture level: Moles are attracted to moist soil, as it is easier to dig through. Avoid overwatering your garden and make sure any standing water is drained promptly to make the soil less hospitable to moles.

4. Avoid over-fertilization: Over-fertilizing your garden can lead to an increase in earthworms and grubs, which are primary sources of food for moles. Avoid using excessive amounts of fertilizer and try using natural alternatives to synthetic fertilizers.

5. Plant bulbs in containers: If you want to plant bulbs in your garden, consider using containers rather than planting them directly in the ground. This will make it more difficult for moles to access the bulbs and feed on them.

By taking these steps, you can help create an environment that is less attractive to moles, reducing the likelihood of their presence in your garden.


As we reach the end of our exploration into the world of moles and their diets, it is important to reflect on the key takeaways from this article. Throughout our discussion, we’ve examined the impact of moles on gardens, the relationship between their behavior and diet, and the steps that can be taken to prevent damage to your garden. Now, let’s summarize these findings and consider how we can apply this knowledge to protect our outdoor spaces.

Recap of key points

To recap the key points we have covered in this article about moles and their diet, let’s take a look at the following table:

Key Point Description
Impact on your garden Moles can cause extensive damage to your garden by disrupting the soil structure and uprooting plants.
Types of food Moles primarily feed on insects, earthworms, and other small invertebrates found in the soil.
Feeding habits and patterns Moles have a high metabolism and need to eat frequently, often consuming up to their own body weight in food each day.
Natural environment Moles have adapted to live in underground environments, where their diet helps them survive by providing the necessary nutrients and energy for digging tunnels and burrows.
Preventing damage You can prevent damage to your garden by using physical barriers, repellents, encouraging natural predators, and creating an unfavorable environment for moles.

It’s important to understand how moles’ behavior and diet can impact your garden, and to take steps to prevent damage. By understanding the types of food moles eat and why, you can better anticipate and address potential problems. Through a combination of physical barriers and pest control measures, you can create an environment that is less attractive to moles and other garden pests. With these strategies in mind, you can keep your garden healthy and thriving.

Final thoughts

After understanding the diet and behavior of moles, it becomes clear that preventing damage to your garden is a matter of taking proactive measures to discourage and deter these furry creatures. Physical barriers such as fencing, netting, and mesh can be used to protect specific areas, while natural predators like owls, hawks, and foxes can be encouraged to frequent the area. Additionally, creating an unfavorable environment by removing their food source and disturbing their tunnels can make them less likely to stick around.

Remember to approach mole control with caution, as they are important members of the ecosystem and help to aerate the soil and control insect populations. By finding a balance between protecting your garden and respecting the essential role that moles play in nature, you can create a healthy and thriving outdoor space. With a little bit of know-how and a willingness to experiment with different solutions, you can enjoy a lush and mole-free garden for years to come.

Key Takeaways:
– Understanding moles’ diet and behavior can help prevent damage to your garden.
– Physical barriers, natural predators, and an unfavorable environment can deter moles.
– Remember to approach mole control with caution and respect for their role in the ecosystem.
– Experiment with different solutions to find what works best for your garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of a mole infestation?

Signs of a mole infestation include raised ridges or tunnels in your lawn or garden, raised mounds of soil, and wilting or dying plants.

Do moles eat vegetables and flowers?

No, moles do not eat vegetables and flowers. They primarily feed on insects, grubs, and earthworms.

Can moles damage underground pipes and cables?

Yes, moles can damage underground pipes and cables by tunneling and creating holes that can cause damage or collapse.

Why do moles tunnel underground?

Moles tunnel underground to create their homes, search for food, and travel from one location to another.

How can I measure the severity of a mole infestation?

You can measure the severity of a mole infestation by counting the number of tunnels and mounds in your lawn or garden.

Do moles cause damage to trees?

No, moles do not cause damage to trees. They are primarily ground-dwelling creatures and do not climb or feed on trees.

What type of soil do moles prefer?

Moles prefer loose, moist soil that makes it easier for them to tunnel and search for food.

How can I identify mole damage versus damage caused by other animals?

Mole damage usually appears as raised ridges or tunnels in the ground, whereas damage caused by other animals may include chewed or damaged plants and soil disturbances in other areas of the garden.

Are there any ecological benefits to having moles in my garden?

Yes, moles help aerate the soil by their tunneling, which can improve soil health and drainage.

Can I relocate moles to another location?

It is not recommended to relocate moles as they are territorial creatures and may not survive in a new environment. Additionally, it is illegal to relocate wildlife without the proper permits.