Discover the Fascinating Lives of Washington State Moles: The Burrowers You Don’t Know About

Washington State moles are widely known for their burrowing habits and the damage they cause to lawns and gardens. However, many people don’t know much about these animals or how to identify, manage, and protect their property from them. In this article, we’ll uncover the secrets of Washington State moles and teach you all you need to know about them. From identifying the signs of a mole infestation to understanding their habits and behavior, you’ll be prepared to manage and protect your property from these pesky critters.

Overview of Washington State Moles

Overview Of Washington State Moles

Mole Species Location
Eastern Mole Eastern Washington
Coastal Mole Western Washington
Townsend’s Mole Throughout Washington

Washington State is home to three different species of moles: Eastern Mole, Coastal Mole, and Townsend’s Mole. The Eastern Mole is found in Eastern Washington and is the most common mole in the state. The Coastal Mole is found in Western Washington and is the smallest mole in the state. Townsend’s Mole is found throughout Washington and is the largest mole in the state. All three species of moles in Washington are insectivores and have a short lifespan of 2-3 years.

Identifying Washington State Moles

Identifying Washington State Moles

Physical Characteristics

Washington State moles are small, burrowing mammals with cylindrical bodies, short limbs and short, velvety fur. They have long, pointed snouts and tiny eyes and ears, which are hidden beneath the fur. Their forefeet are wide and scoop-like, and their curved, shovel-like claws are used for digging and burrowing.
Washington State moles have small, dense bodies and long, muscular tails, which help them to maneuver through the tunnels they create.


Washington State moles are found in a variety of habitats, such as grassy fields, woodlands, and wetlands. They prefer moist, well-drained soil and will dig extensive tunnels and chambers in search of earthworms, insects, and other invertebrates. Moles are active all year round, but are most active during the warmer months. They will stay in their burrows during the winter months to escape cold temperatures and to conserve energy.

Prevention and Control

Prevention And Control


To prevent moles Washington State from entering your property, create a physical barrier by installing a wire mesh that is at least 18 inches deep into the ground. Make sure to close the openings in the mesh and keep it free from debris.


Using repellents is another way to discourage Washington State moles from entering your property. There are various repellents available that contain ingredients such as castor oil, garlic, and peppermint oil.


Trapping is an effective way to eliminate moles Washington State from your property. There are various types of traps available such as the harpoon, scissor, and choker loop traps. Make sure to check the traps regularly and dispose of any trapped moles in a safe manner.

Impact of Moles on Property

Impact Of Moles On Property

  • Structural Damage: Moles can cause structural damage to lawns and gardens, causing hills and ridges to form that disrupt the uniformity of the land.
  • Root Damage: Moles can damage plants and trees by burrowing through their root systems.
  • Sinkholes: Moles can create sinkholes in lawns and gardens from the tunnels they dig.
  • Insects: Moles can attract insects and other pests to the property.
  • Lawn Damage: Moles can cause unsightly damage to lawns, making them appear patchy.
  • Costly Repairs: Moles can create costly repairs to properties, as the damage they cause needs to be fixed.

Damage Repair and Restoration

Damage Repair And Restoration

  • Moles cause structural damage: Moles can cause structural damage to buildings and roads, including tunneling beneath foundations and roads, which can weaken the structure.
  • Repair and restoration needs to be done: When there is damage to the structure, repair and restoration needs to be done in order to prevent further damage.
  • Damage can include displacement of soil: Damage caused by moles can include displacement of soil, which can lead to drainage problems.
  • Damage can also include damage to trees: Damage caused by moles can also include damage to trees, the roots of which can be damaged by the tunneling.
  • Mole activity can cause erosion: Mole activity can also cause erosion, which can lead to a loss of soil, as well as damage to foundations, roads, and other structures.
  • Restoration involves restoring the original structure: Restoration of the structure involves restoring the original structure, as well as repairing any damage caused by the mole activity.
  • Restoration can involve the use of concrete: Restoration can involve the use of concrete, asphalt, or other materials to repair any damage caused by the mole activity.
  • Restoration can also involve the use of vegetation: Restoration can also involve the use of vegetation to help stabilize the soil and prevent further erosion.

Laws and Regulations

Laws And Regulations

  • Moles are protected by Washington state law. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, moles are a “non-game species”, meaning they are not hunted or trapped in the state. Unlawful killing or harming of moles is punishable by a fine.
  • The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife issues trapping and relocation permits for moles. The permits are only for those who have a valid reason, such as the mole causing property damage or being a nuisance.
  • In Washington state, it is illegal to use poisons (including gassing) to kill moles. If a mole is caught in a trap, it must be released onto the same property where it was trapped.
  • Moles must be relocated at least 5 miles away. This is to ensure that the mole does not return to the same property. The relocation site must also be suitable habitat for the mole.

Recommended Solutions

  • Remove food sources: Remove any potential food sources from your yard. This includes leaving pet food outdoors, over-watering plants, and not disposing of garbage properly.
  • Block access: Install physical barriers such as metal sheeting and wire mesh around the perimeter of your yard to prevent moles from entering.
  • Repellents: Use all-natural repellents in your yard to discourage moles from inhabiting the area. This includes castor oil, garlic and peppermint.
  • Traps: Purchase and set traps around the perimeter of your yard. Check the traps regularly and reset if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common signs of moles present in Washington State?

  • Surface tunnels – Moles create surface tunnels, or runs, that are about 2-3 inches in diameter and are raised above the ground. These tunnels are used to search for food, such as insects, grubs, and worms.
  • Mounds of soil – Moles also create mounds of soil, usually about 2-4 inches high, which are usually found in lawns or gardens.
  • Damage to plant roots – Moles can cause damage to plant roots and other underground structures, such as irrigation systems and underground wiring.
  • Presence of molehills – Molehills are the accumulations of soil and debris that the mole pushes up to the surface as it digs its tunnels. They are usually cone-shaped and can be found in lawns, gardens, and other areas where the soil is soft.

Are there any effective management techniques for dealing with moles?

Trapping: Trapping is the most common way to manage moles. Trapping is a humane way of removing moles from an area, and it can be done without the use of poisons. The most effective traps are the scissor-jawed mole trap, which is designed to catch the mole without injuring it.

Repellents: Repellents are another way to manage moles. Some of the most common repellents are castor oil, garlic, and predator urine. These repellents work by creating an unpleasant odor or taste that moles find unpleasant. Repellents can be applied directly to the soil, or can be sprayed in an area to create a barrier around the yard.

Exclusion: Exclusion is a method of blocking off an area to prevent moles from entering. The most effective way to exclude moles is to install a fence around the perimeter of the yard. The fence should be at least two feet tall and buried at least six inches into the ground.

Habitat Modification: Habitat modification is another way to manage moles. The goal of habitat modification is to make the area less attractive to moles by removing areas of dense vegetation or debris, which can provide cover for moles. In addition, it is important to keep the soil aerated and free of excess moisture.

Baiting: Baiting is another management technique for moles. Baiting involves placing a bait inside a mole trap, which can be an effective way to catch and remove moles from an area. It is important to use a bait that is safe for other animals and to use a trap approved by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

How can I identify moles on my property?

Moles can be identified by the presence of raised ridges of soil, also known as mounds, throughout a property. Mole mounds appear as small, raised hills of dirt, around 3-4 inches tall, and can be seen in lawns, flower beds, and other areas of the property. Moles can also leave behind tunnels, which appear as raised, curved pathways in the soil. Mounds and tunnels tend to be more active during the spring and summer months.

What are the risks associated with having moles on my property?

Moles can cause damage to your property by digging tunnels, eating roots, and creating unsightly mounds. Additionally, moles can disrupt the growth of plants, destroy turf, and weaken structural foundations. If the infestation is severe, costly repairs may be necessary. Moles can also bring parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and mite, into your yard which can cause health risks to humans and pets.

What are the Best Practices for Protecting My Property from Moles?

1. Keep Your Lawn Trimmed:

    • Keeping your lawn trimmed and tidy is one of the best ways to prevent moles from taking up residence on your property. Moles prefer tall grass and other vegetation, so maintaining a neat and tidy lawn can help to deter them.

2. Install Fencing: Installing a fence around your property can help to keep moles away. Fences should be at least two feet tall and securely installed in the ground.

3. Use Repellents: There are various repellents available on the market that can help to keep moles away from your property. These repellents contain ingredients that are unpleasant to moles, such as garlic, castor oil, and even human hair.

4. Remove Food Sources: Moles feed on a variety of small insects and worms, so removing food sources can help to deter them. Keep your lawn free of insects and worms by mowing regularly and using pesticides, if necessary.

5. Use Traps: If you have a mole problem, using traps is an effective way to get rid of them. There are several types of traps available, including live traps, box traps, and harpoon traps.


Washington state moles can be a nuisance to property owners. Fortunately, there are methods that can be used to identify, manage, and protect property from them. It is important to understand the habits and biology of moles to ensure the best possible outcome. With proper knowledge and techniques, it is possible to keep moles at bay and enjoy a healthy and safe property.