Why Do Moles Create Hills and How To Get Rid of Them

Have you ever wandered through your garden or yard only to find inexplicable, miniature hills? Perhaps you’ve wondered what these curious round piles are and how they got there? If so, you’re not alone. Many people are perplexed by the peculiar phenomena of mole hills, and are curious to learn more about these little animals that create them. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at moles, their habits, and why they create hills. We’ll also delve into the fascinating facts of mole hills, the different types of moles, how to control and prevent them, and end with some useful tips. So let’s get started and uncover the mysteries of mole hills!

Understanding Moles

Understanding Moles
When you see a molehill in your yard or garden, you may wonder what could have caused these mounds of displaced dirt. These small mammals have a reputation for being pests and causing destruction, but understanding their behavior and habits can be helpful in controlling their activity. In this section, we’ll delve into what moles are, how they live, and why they create hills. By the end, you will have a better appreciation for these often-maligned creatures. And if you’re interested in identifying their tunnels or learning about the differences between mole and vole tunnels, be sure to check out our guide.

What are Moles?

Moles are small, furry mammals known for their characteristic tunnels and hills in our backyards. They have a cylindrical body, velvety fur, and pointed snouts. Moles are classified in the family Talpidae, which includes over 40 species. In this section, we will discuss some key facts about moles in the form of a table.

Characteristic Description
Diet Moles are insectivores that primarily feed on earthworms, snails, grubs, and other underground insects.
Lifespan Moles generally live for 2-3 years in the wild.
Habitat They are found in grasslands, forests, gardens, and other areas with moist soils.
Reproduction Moles are polygamous and mate in tunnel systems. The gestation period is around 4-6 weeks, and they typically give birth to 3-5 young.
Senses Moles have poor eyesight and rely on their sense of smell and touch to navigate and find prey.
Tunneling Moles create extensive underground tunnel systems for foraging and shelter. They can dig at a rate of up to 18 feet per hour!

Moles are often mistaken for voles or pocket gophers, but they have some key differences. To learn more about distinguishing between these animals and their tunnels, check out our article Mole vs. Vole Tunnels. Additionally, if you’ve ever wondered what to do with those pesky mole hills in your yard, be sure to read our guide to Filling in Mole Hills. And if you’re curious about the environmental impact of mole tunnels, we’ve got you covered with our article on Mole Tunnels and Soil Health.

How Moles Live?

Moles are fascinating creatures that have a unique way of living. Let’s take a closer look at their lifestyle in the table below:

Habitat: Underground
Diet: Insects, grubs, and worms
Activity: Nocturnal
Behavior: Solitary
Reproduction: Mate in the early spring, give birth to litter of 2-5 pups in the late spring/early summer
Lifespan: 2-3 years

Moles reside underground in a network of tunnels and burrows, emerging only to search for food. Their diet consists mainly of insects, grubs, and worms, which they can detect through a keen sense of smell. Moles are nocturnal, which means they are active at night and sleep during the day. They are solitary creatures, only coming together to mate in the early spring. After a gestation period of about 42 days, the female mole gives birth to a litter of 2-5 pups in the late spring or early summer. Moles have a relatively short lifespan, typically living for only 2-3 years.

Why Moles are misunderstood?

Moles, despite being one of the most fascinating creatures on Earth, are often misunderstood for various reasons. In this section, we will discuss these reasons in detail.

Reasons for Misunderstanding Moles Explanation
Appearance People often mistake the mole’s unique appearance for something grotesque or ugly, which leads to a negative perception of the creature.
Behavior The mole’s behavior of digging tunnels and creating hills can be seen as a nuisance to farmers and gardeners, who view moles as pests.
Myths There are many myths and misconceptions about moles, such as the belief that they are blind or that they eat plant roots, which further contributes to the misunderstanding of the creature.
Rarity Moles are not commonly encountered by humans due to their subterranean lifestyle, which can lead to fear and mistrust of the creature.

It is important to understand that moles play an important role in their ecosystem and are not simply pests to be eradicated. By gaining a better understanding of these creatures, we can appreciate their unique characteristics and value in the natural world.

Why Moles create Hills?

Moles are known for creating hills in our yards and gardens, and many of us wonder why they do this. Here are some reasons:

  • Building Tunnels: One of the main reasons moles create hills is to build tunnels. These tunnels are used for traveling underground as well as for hunting for food such as worms and insects. As they dig tunnels, they push soil to the surface, which creates the mole hills we see.
  • Mating Behavior: Male moles create larger and more frequent hills during breeding season to mark their territory and to attract females. The hills act as a sort of advertisement for the males and can be seen as a sign of their strength and fitness.
  • Feeding Habits: Moles have high metabolisms and need to eat a lot in order to survive. As they burrow and create tunnels, they disturb the soil which brings insects and other small invertebrates to the surface. Moles will often consume these insects and leave behind the soil that has been pushed to the surface, creating the hills we see.
  • Environmental Factors: Moles are sensitive to changes in their environment such as heavy rain or drought. During times of heavy rain, moles may create more hills as they try to escape the flooding water. During drought, they may create hills to access areas where the soil is still moist and where insects are more abundant.

These are just a few of the reasons why moles create hills. By understanding their behavior and needs, we can better coexist with these fascinating creatures.

The Fascinating Facts Of Mole Hills

The Fascinating Facts Of Mole Hills
Have you ever wondered why moles create those peculiar hills in your backyard? It’s a common sight to see mounds of soil and grass covering the ground, but what’s not so commonly known are the fascinating facts behind these structures. Delving deep into the world of moles, we uncover the reasons why they create hills and what they signify. Through understanding more about these small creatures, we can appreciate the beauty and complexity of their underground world. So, let’s explore the mystery behind mole hills and unravel their fascinating facts.

The Need for Tunnels

One of the main reasons why moles create hills is due to their need for tunnels to move around and search for food. In fact, moles can dig several hundred feet of tunnels in a single day, which is an impressive feat for animals of their size. These tunnels serve multiple purposes for moles, including protection from predators and harsh weather conditions.

Moles construct two types of tunnels: surface tunnels and deeper permanent tunnels. The surface tunnels are used for feeding and can often be seen as raised ridges on the ground. These tunnels are created as moles search for insects, worms, and other small creatures that they feed on. The deeper permanent tunnels, on the other hand, provide a secure pathway for moles to travel around without being exposed to predators or the elements.

Moles also use these tunnels for communication. They mark their tunnels with a scent, which carries information about themselves and their territory. They can also use their tunnels to move their young to safety or to find a mate. These tunnels are also important for a mole’s survival because they allow the animal to move underground, where it can avoid being seen by predators and escape danger.

The tunnels that moles create are carefully constructed to meet their needs. They are often found in areas where the soil is moist and easy to dig. The tunnels are typically about 2 inches in diameter with a height of about 1.5 inches. However, moles are capable of creating tunnels up to a depth of 10 inches when searching for food. They also dig deeper tunnels during the winter months when the soil is frozen.

Moles may seem like a nuisance to some homeowners, but their tunneling habits serve important purposes for their survival. Understanding the need for tunnels can help homeowners coexist with these creatures and appreciate their fascinating abilities.

The Importance of Hills

Mole hills may seem like a nuisance, but they actually play an important role in the environment. Here are some key reasons why hills are important:

  • Aeration: Mole hills help to aerate the soil. The tunnels created by moles allow air to circulate more freely, which helps to prevent the soil from becoming compacted. Compacted soil can prevent water and nutrients from reaching the plant roots, which can be detrimental to plant growth.
  • Soil health: The soil in mole hills is often richer in nutrients than the surrounding soil. This is because moles dig up soil from deeper layers, bringing up more organic matter and minerals.
  • Biodiversity: The tunnels and soil disturbances caused by moles can create habitats for other species. For example, the bare patches of soil on mole hills can serve as nesting sites for ground-nesting birds.
  • Indicators of soil health: The presence of mole hills can indicate the health of the soil. If the soil is rich in organic matter and nutrients, moles are more likely to be present. In contrast, if the soil is too compacted, moles may not be able to tunnel through it, and mole hills will be scarce.

Mole hills may be seen as an annoyance, but they are actually important for the health of the soil and the ecosystem as a whole.

What Hills Tell Us About Moles

Mole hills may seem like a nuisance when they pop up in your lawn, but they actually tell us a lot about these fascinating creatures. By examining the structure and size of mole hills, we can learn a great deal about a mole’s behavior and health.

Structure: Mole hills are typically conical mounds of soil that can range in size from a few inches to several feet in diameter. These mounds are created by the mole as it digs through the soil, pushing the excess dirt up and out of its tunnels. The shape of the mole hill can tell us a lot about how the mole is digging and where it is travelling underground.

Size: The size of the mole hill can also give us insight into a mole’s behavior. Larger mole hills are typically created by more mature and experienced moles that have been living in an area for a longer period of time. Smaller mole hills may indicate a younger mole or a mole that is still exploring its surroundings.

Texture: The texture of the soil in a mole hill can also be a key indicator of a mole’s health. If the soil is loose and crumbly, it may indicate that the mole is eating well and healthy. Conversely, if the soil is hard and compacted, it may be a sign that the mole is struggling to find enough food or water.

Location: Finally, the location of a mole hill can also provide valuable information about a mole’s behavior. For example, mole hills that are clustered together in a specific area may suggest that the mole has established its territory and is living there for an extended period of time. On the other hand, if mole hills are spread out over a large area, it may indicate that the mole is still exploring and searching for a suitable location.

By closely examining mole hills, we can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for these amazing creatures. Despite their reputation as pests, moles play an important role in our ecosystem and are fascinating animals to observe and study.

The Different Types Of Moles

The Different Types Of Moles
As we dive deeper into the world of moles, we realize that there is more to these creatures than what meets the eye. These burrowing mammals come in various shapes and sizes, each with their own unique characteristics that set them apart from one another. Let’s explore the fascinating diversity of moles, from their identification to their habits and the damage they can cause. So, put on your researcher hat as we delve into the intriguing world of mole species.

Identification of Moles

One of the first steps to controlling and preventing moles is to correctly identify what type of mole you are dealing with. There are several species of moles, and each has distinct characteristics that can help you identify them. Here’s a table outlining the identification characteristics of common mole species:

Mole Species Identification Characteristics
Eastern Mole Small, dark gray or black fur. Short, stocky body with a pointed snout and large front claws.
Star-nosed Mole Dark brown or black fur. Snout with 22 pink, fleshy tentacles that it uses to feel its way through tunnels.
Hairy-tailed Mole Grayish-brown fur. Long, bushy tail covered in fur. Short front claws.
Coast Mole Grayish or reddish-brown fur. Long snout and large, spade-like front claws.

It’s important to note that moles can be difficult to identify based on physical characteristics alone. If you are unsure what type of mole is causing problems in your yard, it may be best to consult with a pest control specialist who can help with proper identification and control methods.

The Habits of Different Moles

There are several different species of moles, each with their own unique habits and characteristics. Eastern moles, for example, are commonly found in the eastern United States and are known for their large, spade-like front feet which they use to dig tunnels. Star-nosed moles, on the other hand, have a distinctive star-shaped nose which they use to locate prey in their underground tunnels.

Coastal moles are found along the coastlines of North America and are known for their semi-aquatic habits. They will often swim through rivers and streams in search of food, and their diet consists mainly of small aquatic creatures like fish and crayfish.

Another type of mole, the European mole, is found throughout Europe and parts of Asia. They are known for their cylindrical bodies and large digging claws, which allow them to tunnel several feet underground. European moles are also highly territorial and will often fight fiercely to defend their territories.

Finally, there are shrew moles, which are found in the western United States and are known for their unique teeth, which are shaped like spears. These teeth are used to impale and kill their prey, and shrew moles are known to be highly aggressive and territorial.

Understanding the different habits and characteristics of each kind of mole can help you better identify and control a mole infestation on your property.

The Damage They Cause

Moles may be fascinating creatures, but they can also cause significant damage to lawns, gardens, and farms. Some of the damage they cause includes:

  • Tunneling: Moles create extensive underground tunnels to search for their favorite foods, such as earthworms and grubs. These tunnels can cause roots and plants to dry out, resulting in wilting or death. Tunneling can also loosen soil, leaving it susceptible to erosion.
  • Hills: While mole hills can provide valuable nutrients to the soil, they can also smother grass and other plants by preventing sunlight and water from reaching the roots. They can also be unsightly and create tripping hazards.
  • Safety Hazards: If left unchecked, mole tunnels can weaken the soil and create potential sinkholes, which can be dangerous for people, livestock, and machinery.
  • Financial Losses: The damage caused by moles can result in costly repairs and replacements of lawns and gardens. In farms, it can lead to reduced crop yields and livestock losses.

It is important to take appropriate measures to control and prevent mole damage to your property.

Controlling And Preventing Moles

As fascinating as moles can be, they can quickly become a nuisance for property owners. Their digging habits can cause unsightly and damaging mole hills, and their constant search for food can lead to destroyed lawns and gardens. So, what can you do to prevent and control these elusive creatures from wreaking havoc? In this section, we will examine some of the most effective methods for combating mole infestations. From eliminating food sources to utilizing natural repellents, we’ll explore the range of options available to help you maintain a mole-free property.

Eliminating Food Sources

Eliminating food sources is one of the most effective and humane ways of controlling mole populations. Moles primarily feed on soil-dwelling insects, such as earthworms and larvae, so reducing their food supply is key to making your garden less attractive to them.

Methods for Eliminating Food Sources

Method Description
Reduce Watering Water your garden less frequently to reduce the number of earthworms in the soil. Moles are attracted to moist soil where earthworms are plentiful.
Remove Grubs Grubs are a favorite food of moles. Remove any grubs from your lawn or garden to eliminate a food source for them.
Use Nematodes Nematodes are microscopic worms that are natural predators of soil-dwelling insects. Applying nematodes to your lawn or garden can reduce the population of earthworms and other insects, making it less attractive to moles.
Remove Compost Piles Compost piles are a breeding ground for earthworms, making them a favorite feeding site for moles. Removing compost piles from your garden can make it less attractive to moles.

Taking steps to eliminate food sources can be an effective way of controlling mole populations without resorting to harsh chemicals or traps. However, it’s important to remember that moles are an important part of the ecosystem and play a crucial role in aerating soil and controlling pest populations. So, while it’s important to control their populations if they are causing damage to your lawn or garden, efforts should be made to preserve their natural habitat and minimize harm to them whenever possible.

Chemical and Natural Repellents

Moles can cause significant damage to lawns, gardens, and parks, making it imperative to control and prevent their activity. One way to do so is by using chemical and natural repellents.

Chemical repellents, such as castor oil-based products or aluminum ammonium sulfate, can be effective in deterring moles. They work by creating a repulsive smell or taste that can irritate moles, causing them to vacate the area.

On the other hand, natural repellents offer a more eco-friendly alternative to chemical options. Plants like daffodils, alliums, and fritillaries are known for their ability to repel moles due to their strong odor. Other natural solutions include using garlic, chili pepper, or spearmint as sprays around the affected area.

To help you compare and choose among chemical and natural repellents, the following table summarizes their advantages and disadvantages:

Repellent Type Advantages Disadvantages
Chemical Effective in deterring moles; easy to use; readily available in stores Possibility of harming other beneficial organisms; need for repeated applications; can be harmful to pets
Natural Eco-friendly; safe for use around pets and humans May not be as effective as chemical options; may require more frequent application

It’s important to note that repellents on their own may not always provide a foolproof solution to mole infestations. It’s recommended to use them in combination with other preventative measures or consult with a professional pest control service for effective removal of moles.

Traps and Professional Services

Trapping is the most effective way to control moles. There are different types of traps one can use to catch these burrowing creatures. The table below shows the types of traps and the pros and cons of each.

Trap Type Pros Cons
Scissor-jaw traps Effective and humane. Quickly kill the mole without causing much damage to the lawn. Need to be properly placed in active tunnels to work efficiently.
Spear traps Easy to set up and can be quick to kill the mole. Not as effective as scissor-jaw traps. Can be dangerous to pets and wildlife if not placed correctly.
Choker-loop traps Humane and can capture multiple moles at once. Can take longer to catch the mole, and must be set up in a maze-like formation to be effective.

However, trapping requires experience and skill. If you are not confident in your ability to trap moles, it is best to enlist the help of a professional pest control service. These services will have the necessary tools and expertise to successfully trap and remove moles from your property. They may also be able to offer preventative measures to stop moles from returning.

It is important to note that in some areas, trapping or killing moles may be illegal. It is important to check local regulations before attempting to control mole populations on your own.

Prevention Tips

Moles can be a nuisance in lawns, gardens, golf courses, and fields. However, there are steps you can take to prevent them from creating hills and tunnels on your property. Here are some prevention tips to help you keep your yard and garden free from these pesky animals.

Tip 1: Keep your lawn properly maintained. Moles are attracted to soil that is rich in worms and other insects. By regularly mowing and aerating your lawn, you can make it less attractive to moles.
Tip 2: Eliminate their food source. As mentioned earlier, moles feed on worms, grubs, and other insects. If you can reduce the number of insects in your lawn, you can make it less habitable for moles.
Tip 3: Create barrier plants. Popular barrier plants with strong fragrances like Alliums, Catnip and Fritillarias and Plants disliked by moles like daffodils, marigolds and agapanthus can deter moles from your garden just by
being present.
Tip 4: Use repellents. Moles dislike strong smells, so using garlic, castor oil, or any other strong scent, can help repel them from your property. You can also use electronic pest controllers to emit high-pitched noises that moles dislike.
Tip 5: Install underground barriers. By installing mesh barriers made from galvanized steel, or even digging in rocks, you can prevent moles from burrowing into your property.
Tip 6: Set up physical barriers. Fences and small hedges around your property can help deter moles from moving in. They will prefer to move to an area without obstacles.
Tip 7: Use live traps. If you have a few moles in your yard, using live traps can be a humane and effective solution. Check the traps frequently and release the moles in an area far from your property.
Tip 8: Call a professional. If you’re not sure how to deal with your mole problem, or if it’s gotten out of hand, call a professional pest control service. They have the equipment and knowledge to deal with mole infestations.

By following these tips, you can help prevent moles from creating hills and tunnels on your property. It’s important to note that even with prevention methods in place, you may still encounter moles from time to time, so it’s vital to stay vigilant and take action if needed.


After delving deep into the world of moles and why they create hills, it’s clear that these creatures are a crucial part of our ecosystem. While they may cause some inconvenience and damage to our lawns and gardens, they also offer several benefits, such as aerating the soil and controlling pests.

Understanding the habits and behaviors of moles can also help us better control and prevent their presence in our yards. By eliminating their food sources, using natural or chemical repellents, or setting up traps, we can keep moles at bay and minimize the damage they cause. However, it’s important to note that some methods may be more effective than others, and seeking professional services may also be necessary in some cases.

Overall, while moles may seem like a nuisance, they play an essential role in our environment and should not be demonized. By learning about their habits and implementing effective control methods, we can coexist with these fascinating creatures in a way that benefits both them and us.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a mole hill and a gopher mound?

Mole hills are small conical mounds of soil, while gopher mounds are bigger and crescent-shaped with a plug opening.

Do moles eat plant roots?

Yes, moles eat plant roots as well as insects and earthworms.

Can mole hills damage my lawn?

Yes, mole hills can cause damage to your lawn by creating soft spots, causing tripping hazards, and damaging the roots of the grass.

Can I use mothballs to repel moles?

Yes, mothballs contain naphthalene which can repel moles, but they are also toxic and can harm pets, wildlife, and humans if ingested.

Are moles blind?

No, moles are not blind, but they have tiny eyes and generally rely on their sense of smell, touch, and hearing to navigate.

Can I use ultrasonic devices to repel moles?

There is no evidence that ultrasonic devices effectively repel moles, and some studies suggest that they may even attract moles.

Can I relocate moles to another area?

No, it is not recommended to relocate moles as they are highly territorial and may not survive in unfamiliar surroundings.

Do all moles create hills?

No, not all moles create hills. Only mole species that burrow near the surface and create tunnels close to the ground level create hills.

How deep do moles dig?

Moles can dig tunnels up to 18 inches below the ground surface in search of food and shelter.

Can I prevent moles from entering my property?

No, it is impossible to completely prevent moles from entering your property as they can easily dig under fences and barriers. However, implementing certain prevention methods can reduce their presence.