Moles vs. Voles
Moles v. Voles — What’s the Difference?
If you’re seeing signs of an underground pest disturbance, chances are you have a mole or vole problem. Most people don’t know the difference, no thanks to their similar sounding names. Here are a few facts to help you distinguish between the two.
WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?
MOLES. Moles are part of the anteater family (called insectivore) and look quite different from voles. Because of their physical characteristics, moles are quite funny looking. They have a pointed snout to use for their sense of touch and enlarged front feet with claws to support their tunneling behaviors. Moles primarily live underground, to help with light sensitivity, they have eyes and ears so tiny they aren’t visible to most.
VOLES. Voles are part of the rodent family and commonly get confused with house mice. They are also called meadow mice, or ground moles, which can confuse the difference even further. They have rounded ears covered in fur, and their body is a reddish-brown color with grey undersides. The adult vole can reach 5 to 7 inches in length and have extremely short tails.
WHAT ARE THEIR HABITS?
MOLES. Moles live in underground tunnels and unlike voles, are predatory in nature. Moles dig elaborate tunnels through soil searching for food sources such as earthworms, insects, and small arthropods. Moles are hungry creatures and have to eat 25 – 100% their own body weight (per day) in order to survive.
VOLES. Voles prefer to live in low-lying vegetation making trails through the grass or snow. These animals are primarily herbivore, separating them further from moles. They enjoy feeding on the roots, bulbs, bark, and seeds of ornamental plants and grasses. They prefer places with dense vegetation to hide the entrances to their homes. They prefer open spaces and are relatively poor climbers so it isn’t common to find them in the home.
TUNNELS AND DAMAGE.
Although moles and voles are rarely seen in your home, that does not mean you don’t need to watch out for them. These animals can cause serious damage to your property by attacking your plants, trees, and lawns. When it comes to distinguishing the difference between the two, your best chance it to look at the type of tunnels and what damage is being caused.
MOLES. Moles dig two types of tunnels, feeding tunnels and shelter tunnels. Their feeding tunnels are close to the earth’s surface which results in a raised surface. Moles can dig one foot of shallow tunnel per minute! Moles also dig deep tunnels used primarily for shelter and giving birth to their young. The damage caused by moles is primarily caused by the ridges in the ground and the mounds of dirt they leave when they resurface to look for food or new tunneling sites.
Voles. Voles are primarily herbivores and therefore thrive on eating your lovely plants. They often burrow underneath plants and eat away at the root system until the plant is dead. A sign of voles are often pathways in your grass that result from feeding on grass clippings during the winter under the snow, when the snow melts you will see the tracks.
It is important to know the difference between moles and voles because they are completely different animals and therefore require completely different strategies for managing and eliminating. However, it can sometimes be hard to identify and most likely will require a professional inspection. The best method for removal is to contact a pest professional, these animals can be tricky to get rid of. If done incorrectly they are likely to return and cause further damage. If you notice damage, you should call immediately, it will spread fast and your entire lawn can be ruined. Luckily, friendly pest professionals like the ones at Greenix are happy to help. Call our customer support staff at 844-233-7378 for a free inspection today.