We thought it might be useful to tell you a little more about moles. We believe that the more we can understand about their lives and behaviour the easier it is to catch them!
Moles are generally solitary animals, spending much of their time on their own, only coming together for mating. They defend their own territories aggressively, although they can share runs under hedges and fences where their territories overlap. This is why, when a mole is caught, another can quickly move into its vacated territory.
They have several layers of tunnels; deeper, semi-permanent ones used for breeding and by successive generations, and shallow short-lived surface ones used for hunting. It is these temporary hunting tunnels that cause most of the trouble as the mole excavates at a rate of about twenty metres a day, pushing up debris in the form of mole hills.
They can move along their tunnels surprisingly quickly – one metre a second – and, because its fur can lie at any angle, it can go backwards as well as forward through the tunnels. They are also good swimmers and, in times of flood, will swim to higher ground.
The adult mole weighs about 80 grammes and is 12-14cm in length, and its tail is 2-4cm long; it holds this semi-erect when it is working to brush the tunnel walls, picking up vibrations passed through the ground by worms and insects.
The mole consumes about its own body weight in food per day, working on a sleeping/working pattern of about four hours and, when there is plenty of food, they will bite the heads off worms and store them for later.
The female has one litter a year, usually of three or four, between February and June. The young are weaned at about one month and are pushed out to fend for themselves and establish their own territories shortly after. They become sexually active at the age of one year and live, on average, between two and five years.Since Roman times, man and mole have been in conflict and mole catchers have been using traps since then. One of the earliest ones was a clay pot, part filled with water in which an exhausted mole would eventually drown. These were used through the medieval period and right up to the 19th century in some areas. Smaller clay traps, made like drainpipes, were developed in the 1700s but, when mole catching became more of a commercial enterprise, a better and stronger trap made of elm was developed. During the Victorian era, the metal trap was developed.
In the 1800s, the art of trapping began to decline when poisoning became the method of choice as it was easier and required less equipment.
Worms were caught and soaked in strychnine and then inserted into the run. Whilst it was an efficient way of dealing with the moles, it was not considered humane and was banned in 2006. There was then a steady increase in mole activity and the mole catcher with his traps was in demand again, traditional methods being seen as one of the best ways to control moles…and so here we are today!
Another lovely email popped into our inbox this morning from one of our customers.
Sounds like this gentleman is fast becoming the village mole catcher!
“I bought your mole trap over a year ago to catch a mole on the village green. I caught it immediately. This week we had a mole at work on the edge of our bowling green. Much to the amazement of our members, I was again successful overnight,saving the bowling surface.A great product.“
Great to get this message today from one of our American customers who had been trying to catch a very tricky mole for quite a while…
“I just had to share, after 2 years I finally caught the little sucker!! I danced a jig!!!
Here’s his ( her?) picture: Dead as a doornail. Now onto the front garden. No evidence there is another….is that likely? I understand this is a star nosed mole.”
We love to hear of your mole catching stories and successes so please contact us and if you are having difficulties catching them we are also here to help. You can call us on 01223 927216 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Myth: Control the grubs to control the moles.
While moles can eat grubs, 80-90% of their diet is comprised of earth worms; therefore, controlling grubs is not going to control moles. Do not expect to control moles by using grub control products. The best way to control moles is to trap them.
Myth: Kill or scare moles away with Chewing Gum, castor oil, glass shards, cigarettes, hot peppers, etc etc.
We have not read any research that demonstrates the effectiveness of these claims. Some of these ‘home-remedies’ can actually be dangerous to humans, pets, and the environment.
Myth: I can use poison food, or mouse/rat poison to control moles.
Moles are insectivores. Their main diet is earthworms. They do not eat plants, seeds, or roots and therefore they will not eat any mouse/rat poisons or baits used to control rodents. There is one type of mole bait, the problem is the idea of placing worm-shaped mole killing products into the lawn. Ideally, the bait is placed into the tunnel to prevent people or animals from picking it up and consuming it, but there still is a risk. You can decide the level of risk to you and your property.
Myth: Moles. Voles. They are all the same.
Mole and voles are completely different. Moles bury tunnels under the ground and voles create pathways in the grass on top of the soil. Moles eat worms and insects. Voles eat nuts and seeds.
Some very interesting letters in The Guardian Newspaper recently about mole catching. www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/10/spare-a-thought-for-the-poor-old-mole
Firstly, we would like to assure our customers that our trap is one of the most humane on the market as our strong spring mechanism ensures that there is a clean, swift kill every time and therefore the mole does not suffer. The so called ‘humane’ traps which capture the mole live cause much more suffering as the mole is often left trapped for long periods of time causing huge distress and often a prolonged death.
We also were very interested to hear about the fact that until recently mole catchers sold mole skins to plumbers who used them to wipe and shape the hot lead on pipe repairs, thus producing a velvet finish to their work. Never heard of this before!
So lovely to get this email from one of our delighted customers this week:
Another success !
Second time using , two days in ground .
What an excellent article by Dr.Rob Atkinson in support of the many qualities and remarkable abilities of moles. Here I must declare my interest: I am the inventor of the popular Easyset Mole trap.
Dr Atkinson rightly acknowledges that not everyone appreciates these qualities, particularly farmers with grazing herds and flocks, horse keepers, grounds men, park and green keepers and,not least, gardeners passionate about their immaculate lawns!
For centuries man has trapped moles and will continue to do so.
I do not foresee that we will return to the days of trapping moles for their pelts: such was the wholesale annihilation of moles for this purpose nearly a hundred years ago that the killing of moles was prohibited by law in Germany – a law that still stands to this day .
Notwithstanding the vast numbers of moles that exist in the northern hemisphere today (31 million in the UK alone), the vested interest of those who wish to remove moles poses no threat to their existence, unlike many animal species in the world.
So if moles are doing you no harm I say ‘leave them alone and in peace to pursue their singular and lonely existence’.
On the other hand if you wish to remove a mole that’s offending you, don’t waste your time or money on deterrents (sonic or smoke etc.) as they will merely circumvent them and return. Remove the mole by using a trap that will kill them quickly and humanely.
One tip: ( maybe ‘old wives tale’ but it’s worked for me!) As Dr.Atkinson says when one mole goes another will soon sense it and move into the established network (why work for a living!). If you have successfully killed a mole, inter it respectfully into the hole from whence it came and cover it up. It might send a message to an intruder coming up the tunnel! I have done this in my garden and not had an intruder for four years now and there is still plenty of mole activity outside where I am happy to let them get on with their short lives.
Inventor of The EasySet Mole Trap and owner of Beagle Garden products.
17th March 2016.
Last April I wrote about my daughter, Polly, and her mole catching hound Biddy.Two dead moles within a couple of weeks! No need for any Beagle EasySet mole traps in her household!
What I haven’t admitted is that a few weeks later her older sister, Lucy’s hound ,a sort of mini Italian greyhound cross called Ted, not to be outdone by Biddy, also demonstrated its mole catching skills by excavating and killing a mole in her garden. Hardly support from the family for my new enterprise! So I have until today kept it quiet.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I stayed with Lucy and she showed me a long mole run adjacent to her drive where she had had a Beagle EasySet in place for a couple of weeks.The ground conditions were appalling. Sodden and extremely soft and virtually impossible to probe the line of the run. I lifted the trap, which had not triggered but was totally blocked with soft mud. It triggered instantly without any problem and I reset it and replaced in what seemed like a tunnel but to no avail.
This week I received an email from Lucy to confirm that with Ted’s assistance they had caught the mole. My heart sank. Not another failure!
But I was wrong.Using Ted as a search engine, he located the position of the mole and started to dig! He was hauled off before getting covered in mud, the run was located and exposed and a trap was carefully set. Next morning one dead mole in the excellent Beagle Easyset Mole Trap. Phew!!!
A charming country gentleman walked onto the Beagle stand on the second day at last year’s Badminton Horse Trials and enquired as to the price for an EasySet Mole Trap.
I replied “Seventeen pounds fifty for one: Thirty pounds for two”
“In which case I would like one at the reduced price and if it works I promise I will buy another”
“OK” I responded and swiped his credit card.
It was only then that I recognised his name.We had been close friends in our early days at school but then had parted company as we progressed to different schools and so through life.This was our first meeting for 63 years!
We reminisced. “Strange” he said “I was only thinking about you the other day when I found a photo of us together cutting grass.We must have been about twelve years old”.
For the next two remaining days of the event ,he called at the stand and we continued to reminisce.
At the end of last year I sent him a Christmas card and expressed the hope that we would meet again in 2015.
Sadly he died on the 8th of January.
I am very sad.Perhaps we will meet again sometime?
RIP.RICHARD MEADE. OBE. Triple Olympic Gold Medalist. Britain’s most successful Olympian in three-day eventing..
I have always been told, and do believe that mole hills are the spoil of mole excavations and are shunted by the mole up a cul-de-sac and out onto the surface and form mole hills.
I have been preaching that traps should not be placed in the mole hills themselves, but in the run between a couple of hills.
Well just to disprove this advice, a customer of ours, Brian from Cheshire, wrote to us recently to tell us that he had successfully trapped no less than seven moles and had done so by placing the traps straight into the tunnel directly under the mole hill!
I immediately responded expressing my surprise. He then responded saying that he had caught another mole over night placing the trap in the hill in the same manner and saying that it saved a lot of time searching for the run!
I am certainly going to try this myself when I can find some activity – as most of my moles have got the message about the Beagle Easyset Mole Trap and have very wisely bxxxxxxd off!
I would love to hear from anyone else who has successfully trapped moles in this manner.
Inventor of the EasySet Mole trap.