How Do I Identify Moles & Voles?
There are several species of moles, but they share similar distinguishing characteristics that will help to identify them. While often confused with voles, mice, or other rodents, moles are set apart by their large, scoop-shaped front feet and tiny eyes and ears that are hidden by fur. Moles range from 6 to 8 inches long and have dark grey or brown soft fur. Most also have slender, pointed noses that protrude about an inch from their face. When digging their tunnels, moles only leave behind small, cone-shaped mounds that measure approximately two inches wide. These nocturnal pests spend much of the night building their tunnels close to the ground’s surface, which can result in a series of raised ridges appearing across the length of your property by morning.
Voles resemble mice, except with shorter tails and fatter bodies. Depending on the type of voles in your area, they can grow anywhere from 5 to 7 inches. As these critters are fast and work to stay out of the line of sight, identification usually begins with an assessment of the damage caused telltale signs include:
The bottom bark on trees gnawed off
Ground damage that resembles an “above-ground tunnel,” unlike moles that build underground tunnels that can make the ground feel soft when you walk on it
Small holes in your yard about 1 to 2 inches in diameter
Plants that have wilted or are easy to remove from the ground with light pressure, signaling the destruction of the root system by a vole.