Moles Migration vs. Hibernation: How to Tell the Difference

The sight of a burrowing mole in your yard or garden can be both fascinating and frustrating. However, what is more perplexing is trying to determine whether the mole is migrating to a new location or hibernating in its burrow during colder months. Understanding the behavior and physical differences between the two can help you determine the best course of action. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between moles in migration and hibernation, including their schedules, food consumption, physical activity, appearance, and behavior. Plus, we’ll provide practical tips on how to control and prevent moles from damaging your property. So, let’s dig in and learn how to tell the difference between mole migration and hibernation.

Why do Moles Migrate or Hibernate?

Why Do Moles Migrate Or Hibernate?
As gardeners, it’s important to understand the behavior of moles in order to keep our yards healthy and thriving. One key aspect of their behavior is their migration and hibernation patterns. But what triggers these migrations and how can we distinguish between the two? In this section, we will explore the reasons behind mole migration and hibernation, as well as some practical tips on how to prevent them from entering your yard. To learn more about the science behind moles migration and navigation, check out our article on mole migration patterns.

Moles Migration

Moles Migration is a seasonal movement of moles from one place to another in search of food and a better environment. Moles migrate during the spring and fall seasons. During the spring, they move from low-lying areas to higher ground in search of food and to avoid flooding. In the fall, they return to lower grounds to escape the freezing temperatures.

The reasons behind Moles Migration are:

  • The main reason for Moles’ Migration is to find suitable feeding grounds depending on their food availability. Moles live on a diet of insects, grubs, earthworms, and other small creatures. They will migrate if they can no longer find enough food to sustain themselves in their current location.
  • The second reason for Moles migration is the need for a better environment. Moles move to areas that have the right soil conditions, vegetation, and moisture content.
  • The third reason is to escape predators. Moles will move to a new location to avoid predators such as foxes, badgers, and birds of prey.

Understanding the reasons behind Moles’ migration patterns can be helpful in controlling and preventing their infestation. For example, knowing the soil type that moles prefer can help homeowners identify areas in their yard that are most likely to have moles. This can be useful in determining where to place traps or barriers to prevent their migration.

An article on soil type and moles migration can provide more insight into how to use soil types to understand moles movement. Additionally, putting strategies in place to prevent moles from migrating into your yard can help to stop these pests from causing more damage.

Moles Hibernation

Moles hibernation is a survival technique used by these small creatures to cope with harsh weather conditions. During this period, moles significantly decrease their activity and conserve energy to survive the winter.

When do Moles Hibernate?

Moles hibernate for several months, generally during the winter season. They begin their hibernation period as the temperatures start dropping and will remain dormant until the climate starts to warm up in the spring. This period may vary depending on the region and climate. In areas with relatively mild winters, moles may take shorter hibernation periods, while in colder areas, they may hibernate for more extended periods.

Where Do Moles Hibernate?

During hibernation, moles dig deeper burrows below the frost line to protect themselves from the cold. These burrows can be located in gardens, fields, or pastures where the soil is soft and rich in earthworms, their primary food source.

How Do Moles Hibernate?

As moles enter hibernation, their heart rate and breathing slow significantly while their body temperature drops to match their surroundings. This slows down their metabolism, and they enter a state of torpor where they can survive on limited energy.

Unlike bears, moles do not store fat, so they need to consume a significant amount of food before entering hibernation to survive the winter.

During hibernation, moles only wake up from time to time to look for food, water, or come up to bask in the sun for a brief period before returning to their burrows.

Moles hibernation allows them to conserve energy and survive through the colder months when food is scarce. Understanding the unique behavior of moles during this time is helpful in identifying and controlling their activity. For more information on moles migration and their benefits and drawbacks, read our article “Benefits and Drawbacks of Moles Migration“.

Behavioral Differences between Moles Migration and Hibernation

Behavioral Differences Between Moles Migration And Hibernation
Trying to identify whether a mole is migrating or hibernating can be tricky. However, distinguishing their behaviors can give you a better insight. Understanding the difference in behavioral patterns between moles in migration and hibernation can help to plan mole control and prevention measures. Knowing when moles are active or inactive is also essential for safe and humane removal. To gain further insights into moles’ migration pattern, visit moles migration season guide.


One way to tell if a mole is migrating or hibernating is by looking at their schedule. Moles follow a strict schedule for migration while they exhibit different behavior during hibernation. Let’s take a closer look at the schedule differences:

Moles Migration Moles Hibernation
Time of Year Spring, summer, or early fall Late fall, winter, or early spring
Time of Day Day and night Less active during the day and more active at night
Duration Several weeks to a few months Several months to half a year

During migration, moles will be active day and night, for several weeks up to a few months. They usually migrate during the spring, summer, or early fall seasons, depending on the climate and location. In contrast, moles hibernate during the late fall, winter, or early spring. They tend to be less active during the day and more active at night, and their hibernation can last several months up to half a year.

Understanding the schedule of moles can help you determine if they are migrating or hibernating, allowing you to take the appropriate actions. If you want to learn more about moles and their migration patterns, check out our article on Understanding Moles Migration Patterns. Additionally, if you want to prevent moles from migrating into your garden, check out our article on Moles Migration: How to Keep Them Away from Your Garden for practical tips.

Food Consumption

One of the most significant behavioral differences between moles in migration and hibernation is their food consumption. Let’s take a closer look at how their eating habits differ in the table below.

Moles in Migration Moles in Hibernation
Food Availability High Low
Food Consumption Eats up to 80% of their body weight per day Eats little or no food
Reason for Food Consumption To gain energy for the long journey of migration To survive the winter without consuming energy from their bodies
Method of Finding Food Active foraging during awake hours Occasional waking up from hibernation to consume food available in their burrow

As seen above, moles in migration consume a lot of food to gain energy for their journey while moles in hibernation eat little or no food and survive only on energy stored in their bodies. Moles in migration have a higher food availability as they actively forage during their awake hours. Meanwhile, moles in hibernation occasionally wake up to consume food available in their burrow.

If you’re having trouble with moles in your yard, visit the article on How to Stop Mole Migration or learn how to track their migration using technology in the article on Tracking Moles Migration with Tech.

Physical Activity

Moles’ physical activity is also a critical factor in differentiating between their migration and hibernation behaviors. Here are some differences that you should keep in mind:

  • Migration: During migration, moles tend to move around more often than they do during hibernation. They are active both day and night, and they cover considerable distances to reach their destination.
  • Hibernation: When it comes to hibernation, moles are relatively inactive. They mostly stay in their burrows and reduce their metabolic rate, which helps them conserve energy. Hibernating moles emerge from their burrows only to search for food or when disturbed.

It is worth noting that while moles’ physical activity patterns change during the migration and hibernation seasons, they still require food to survive. However, their food consumption behavior differs between the two periods, which we will explore in the next section.

Physical Differences between Moles in Migration and Hibernation

Physical Differences Between Moles In Migration And Hibernation
As we continue to explore the differences between moles in migration and those in hibernation, it’s important to also take a deeper look into the physical attributes that set these two groups apart. Examining the appearance, behavior, and other signs can provide us with useful insights on how to tell whether a mole is migrating or hibernating. These physical differences are crucial in determining the appropriate action to take with regards to mole control and prevention measures. Let’s delve further into this topic and uncover the unique characteristics of moles in migration and hibernation.


When trying to distinguish between moles that are migrating or hibernating, their appearance can provide some clues. Here are some physical differences that may indicate which state the mole is in:

Migrating Moles Hibernating Moles
May appear thinner due to increased physical activity May appear plumper due to storing more fat
May have more visible external parasites due to increased time spent above ground May have fewer visible external parasites due to decreased movement and grooming habits
May have more visible injuries or scars from encounters with predators or obstacles May have fewer visible injuries or scars due to decreased physical activity and time spent in protected areas

It is important to keep in mind that these differences are not definitive and should be considered along with other behavioral and physical signs. It is also worth noting that it can be difficult to accurately identify the state of moles, even for experts. If you are unsure and need help, it is best to consult with a professional pest control service for guidance.


When it comes to behavior, moles in migration and hibernation show distinct differences. These include:

  • Movement: During migration, moles are highly active and can be seen scouring the ground for food and shelter. They may also dig temporary burrows to rest in along the way. In contrast, during hibernation, moles remain in their underground burrows and are much less active.
  • Social Interaction: Social interaction among moles is also affected by their state. While migrating, moles may come into contact with other moles and form temporary groups for safety and support. However, during hibernation, moles are typically solitary and rarely interact with others.
  • Energy Conservation: Migrating moles need to conserve energy for the long journey ahead, so they tend to be highly focused on obtaining food and shelter. Meanwhile, hibernating moles are in a state of suspended animation, conserving as much energy as possible to get through the winter months.

Moles show very different behaviors depending on whether they are in migration or hibernation. Understanding these differences can help you identify what state a mole is in and develop strategies for controlling or preventing mole infestations.

Other Signs

Moles are fascinating creatures, and there are a few signs that can help you differentiate between migration and hibernation. Here are some other signs to look for:

Signs of Moles in Migration Signs of Moles in Hibernation
Agility – Moles that are migrating tend to be more agile and active, moving around in search of food and a comfortable place to settle. Sluggishness – Moles in hibernation are much more sluggish and inactive, remaining in the same place for long periods of time.
Different Areas – Moles in migration tend to move across different areas as they search for food and a place to settle, so you may encounter them in different parts of your garden or property. Same Areas – Moles in hibernation tend to remain in the same area for the duration of the hibernation period, so if you see one in a certain area of your garden or property, it is likely to remain there until the end of the hibernation period.
Mounds of Soil – Moles that are migrating will often leave small mounds of soil behind as they burrow and move around, so keep an eye out for these. No New Mounds – Moles in hibernation do not typically create new mounds of soil, as they are not active during this time.

By being aware of these signs, you can better understand the behavior and physical characteristics of moles in migration versus hibernation, and take appropriate steps to manage them.

Practical Tips: What to do with Moles

As cute as moles might seem, they can cause some serious damage to your garden or lawn when left unchecked. For those who are dealing with a mole problem, it’s crucial to have a plan of action. But what can you do to control these furry creatures and prevent them from causing further damage? In this section, we will discuss some practical tips and strategies for dealing with moles, including mole control and mole prevention methods that you can use to keep your lawn and garden mole-free.

Mole Control

Controlling mole activity in your yard or garden can be a difficult task, but there are a few strategies that you can try:

  • Trapping: There are a variety of traps that you can use to catch moles. Some traps are designed to catch the mole alive, while others are designed to kill the mole quickly and humanely. It is important to use the right kind of trap for your situation and to follow the instructions carefully.
  • Repellents: There are several products that claim to repel moles, such as castor oil or mole deterrents that use sound or vibrations. However, the effectiveness of these products is debated and varies from situation to situation.
  • Natural predators: Encouraging natural predators of moles, such as snakes or owls, can help to control their population. However, this is not a practical solution for most homeowners.

It is important to remember that controlling mole activity is often a matter of trial and error, and what works for one situation may not work for another. If you are struggling to control mole activity in your yard or garden, consider seeking the advice of a professional pest control service.

Mole Prevention

Preventing moles from taking up residence in your yard is the key to avoiding all the problems that come with excessive mole activity. Here are some practical tips to prevent moles from making your lawn their home.

Tip Description
Maintain Soil Moisture One of the best ways to prevent moles from being attracted to your yard is to maintain adequate soil moisture levels. Moles prefer moist soil because it is easier for them to dig in.
Mow Grass Regularly Keeping your lawn well-trimmed is another way to prevent moles from taking up residence. Long grass provides cover for moles, which makes it easier for them to move around without being seen.
Avoid Overwatering While it is important to maintain adequate moisture levels in your soil, over-watering your lawn can create an environment that is too moist, which could attract moles.
Remove Grubs Since moles feed on grubs and other insects, getting rid of them can help prevent moles from infesting your lawn. You can use insecticides or other natural methods to eliminate grubs from your yard.
Install Barriers Physical barriers such as rocks or wire mesh can be used to prevent moles from digging in your yard. These barriers should be installed below the surface of the ground to prevent moles from digging under them.

By following these practical tips, you can reduce the chances that moles will invade your yard and cause damage. Preventing mole activity is much easier than trying to control it once it has taken hold, so be proactive in your efforts to keep moles at bay.


After exploring the differences between moles in migration and hibernation, it’s clear that these two behaviors serve different purposes for these small mammals. While migration allows moles to seek out better food sources and breeding opportunities, hibernation is a survival strategy during periods of harsh weather conditions.

It’s important to note that mole populations are usually not static, and these animals may alternate between migration and hibernation depending on various factors such as weather patterns or food availability. Therefore, it can be difficult to determine whether a particular mole is in migration or hibernation at any given time.

However, by observing various behavioral and physical differences, it’s possible to make an educated guess and take appropriate measures to deal with moles in your yard or garden. Whether it’s mole control or prevention, there are various strategies that can be implemented to minimize the damage these animals can cause.

In conclusion, understanding the differences between moles in migration and hibernation is important for anyone dealing with mole infestations or simply wishing to learn more about these fascinating creatures. By taking the time to observe their behavior and physical appearance, it’s possible to coexist with moles in a way that minimizes disruption to your landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do moles typically stay in migration?

There is no set timeframe for how long moles stay in migration as it can vary based on the season and availability of food.

Do all species of moles migrate or hibernate?

No, not all species of moles migrate or hibernate. It mainly depends on the climate and environment they inhabit.

Can moles cause damage to my garden during migration?

Possibly, yes. Moles may dig tunnels and burrows under gardens during migration which can cause damage to the roots of plants and lawns.

Why do moles hibernate?

Moles hibernate during the winter months when food is scarce and temperatures drop to conserve energy and survive until spring.

Will moles always return to the same location for hibernation?

Yes, moles have a strong memory and will generally return to the same location for hibernation each year.

Can hibernating moles be harmed by humans or pets?

Yes, hibernating moles can be harmed by humans or pets if they are disturbed or their burrows are damaged.

What are some natural predators of moles?

Natural predators of moles include owls, hawks, foxes, and snakes.

Can moles carry diseases that are harmful to humans or pets?

No, moles do not carry diseases that are harmful to humans or pets.

How can I prevent moles from damaging my lawn during migration?

You can try using repellents or installing barriers around the perimeter of your lawn to deter moles from digging tunnels and burrows.

Is it legal to trap and relocate moles?

It depends on your local laws and regulations. It’s important to check before attempting to trap and relocate moles.