What Is The Difference Between Moles And Voles

Are you tired of confusing moles with voles? Do you struggle to differentiate between the two when it comes to controlling and preventing damage in your garden or lawn? Fear not, for this article delves …

What Is The Difference Between Moles And Voles

Are you tired of confusing moles with voles? Do you struggle to differentiate between the two when it comes to controlling and preventing damage in your garden or lawn? Fear not, for this article delves into the physical characteristics, habits, feeding behavior, and control techniques of moles and voles.

While it might seem like a trivial distinction, knowing the difference between moles and voles can save you time and money in the long run. These small rodents might look similar at first glance, but their behavior and diet differ significantly.

By understanding the unique features of moles and voles, you can identify the culprit behind your damaged yard and take the necessary steps to prevent further destruction. So, let’s dig into the world of moles and voles and discover their differences.

Key Takeaways

  • Voles have rounder faces and shorter tails, while moles have pointed snouts and cylindrical bodies.
  • Moles primarily feed on insects and earthworms, while voles have a more diverse diet that includes plants, seeds, roots, and insects.
  • Moles are solitary and active year-round, while voles are social and live in colonies.
  • Both moles and voles can cause damage to root systems and create unsightly mounds of soil and surface runways.

Appearance and Physical Characteristics

Voles have shorter tails and rounder faces than moles, making them look more like cute little rodents. They’re typically between 4 to 8 inches in length, and their fur can range from reddish-brown to gray.

In comparison, moles have longer and more pointed snouts, and their bodies are cylindrical and elongated. They’re also smaller than voles, usually measuring between 4 to 6 inches in length.

Aside from their physical appearance, voles have other distinguishing characteristics. They have small ears and eyes, and their front teeth are usually longer and sharper than those of moles. Additionally, voles are known for their ability to reproduce rapidly, which is why they’re often considered pests in gardens and lawns.

With this in mind, it’s important to understand their behavior and habits to effectively manage them.

Habits and Behavior

You’ll be fascinated by the unique ways these creatures behave, with their burrowing and tunneling activities creating a complex network of underground pathways. Here are some of the interesting habits and behaviors of moles and voles:

  1. Moles are solitary creatures that are active year-round, but they’re most active during the spring and fall. They’re known for their impressive digging skills and can tunnel up to 18 feet per hour. They use their sharp claws to dig and push soil behind them, creating a network of tunnels that they use for shelter and searching for food. Moles are also known for their ability to detect prey by sensing vibrations in the soil. They do this with their sensitive noses.
  2. Voles, on the other hand, are social creatures that live in colonies. They’re active year-round and are most active during the winter months when food is scarce. Voles also dig tunnels, but their tunnels are closer to the surface than those of moles. They use their tunnels for shelter and to access their food sources, which include plants, roots, and bark. Voles are also known for their ability to reproduce quickly. Females can give birth to as many as 10 litters per year.

Understanding the habits and behaviors of moles and voles can help you identify which of these creatures is causing damage to your lawn or garden. Next, we’ll take a closer look at their diet and feeding habits.

Diet and Feeding Habits

When dealing with these underground creatures, it’s important to understand their dietary preferences and how they go about obtaining their meals.

Moles primarily feed on insects, grubs, and earthworms found in the soil. They have a high metabolism and require a large amount of food to sustain their energy levels. Moles are known for their voracious appetite and can consume up to their entire body weight in food every day. They use their sharp front claws to dig tunnels and create underground runways where they search for their next meal.

On the other hand, voles have a more diverse diet that includes plants, seeds, roots, and insects. They do not have the same high energy requirements as moles and can survive on smaller amounts of food. Voles are also known for their ability to store food, which they do by creating underground burrows and tunnels where they stash their supplies. They use their sharp incisors to gnaw on roots and bark, leaving behind visible damage on plants and trees.

As we delve deeper into the habits and behaviors of moles and voles, it’s important to understand the damage they can cause to lawns and gardens.

Damage to Lawns and Gardens

Imagine waking up one morning to find your once luscious green lawn now riddled with tunnels and mounds, a battlefield of destruction caused by these underground pests.

Moles and voles are notorious for causing damage to lawns and gardens, but in different ways.

Moles are insectivores that feed on grubs, earthworms, and other small insects and larvae found underground. In their pursuit of food, they dig tunnels that can disrupt the root systems of plants, causing them to wither and die. Their mounds of soil can also be unsightly and hazardous, as they can trip up unsuspecting individuals.

Voles, on the other hand, are herbivores that feed on vegetation, specifically the roots and stems of plants. Their burrows can cause damage to the root systems of plants, leading to stunted growth and even death. Additionally, voles can create surface runways that can damage grass and leave exposed soil vulnerable to erosion.

To prevent further damage, it’s important to understand the differences between these two pests and identify which one is causing the damage. From there, control and prevention techniques can be implemented to effectively manage the situation.

Control and Prevention Techniques

To effectively manage the damage caused by moles and voles, it’s important to implement control and prevention techniques that create a hostile environment for these underground pests. Here are some techniques that can be used to control and prevent mole and vole damage:

  • Installing fences, mesh wire, or digging a trench around garden beds and lawns can prevent moles and voles from gaining access to them.
  • Live traps or lethal traps can be used to capture or kill moles and voles. It’s important to place the traps in active tunnels and check them regularly to prevent the animals from dying inside the tunnels.
  • Encouraging the presence of natural predators such as snakes, owls, and hawks can help control mole and vole populations.

Implementing these techniques can help prevent and control mole and vole damage in a safe and effective way.

It’s important to remember that patience and persistence are key when it comes to managing these pests.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the lifespan of moles and voles?

Moles and voles have different lifespans. Moles live for around 2-3 years, while voles usually live for 1-2 years. Their lifespan can be compared to a candle flame, burning brightly but for a short time.

Do moles and voles have any natural predators?

Moles and voles have natural predators such as foxes, owls, hawks, and snakes. These animals hunt them for food. However, their underground lifestyle makes them difficult to catch, and they have adapted to avoid being preyed upon.

Can moles and voles carry diseases that can affect humans?

Moles and voles can carry diseases that affect humans. Moles may transmit rabies, while voles can spread tularemia and hantavirus. It’s important to take precautions when handling these animals or their burrows to minimize the risk of infection.

How do moles and voles affect the ecosystem?

How moles and voles affect the ecosystem is an important question. These small mammals play a critical role in soil health, plant growth, and nutrient cycling. Without them, ecosystems may suffer from reduced biodiversity and productivity. But their burrowing habits can also damage crops and gardens.

Are there any benefits to having moles or voles in your yard or garden?

Moles and voles can benefit your yard or garden by aerating soil, reducing insect and pest populations, and providing food for predators. However, their tunneling and feeding habits can also cause damage to plants and roots.


In conclusion, it’s crucial for homeowners and gardeners to be able to distinguish between moles and voles in order to effectively control and prevent damage to their lawns and gardens.

While both species may appear similar in physical appearance, their habits, behavior, and feeding preferences differ significantly.

Although the presence of moles and voles may be a nuisance, it’s important to employ humane and sustainable control methods such as trapping and exclusion rather than resorting to harmful chemicals or poisons.

By implementing preventative measures such as reducing excessive moisture and eliminating potential food sources, individuals can effectively deter these pesky critters from causing further damage to their property.

With proper knowledge and techniques, homeowners can successfully coexist with moles and voles while maintaining the beauty and integrity of their outdoor spaces.

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