Eating mainly grubs, larvae and worms these creatures help aerate soil in fields. In the garden they may heave up a few plants as they search for their meals but if you don't mind their burrowing just under the surface they can actually do more good than harm. They create underground nests that look like balls of grass with a doorway. This photo is of babies about 2" long. The adults are aproximately 6" long. They do have very long sharp teeth so it is wise to use caution if you need to handle one. If they get off the sod and onto pavement they quickly become disoriented and dinner for an owl.
A nocturnal animal that can make a lawn an unsightly mess; while their tunneling through other garden areas provides an access for mice to get at and gnaw at plant roots.
The best way to be rid of them is to do away with their food source – mainly earthworms and larvae – not usually an alternative of earthworm lovers. Using box traps, spearing devices, noxious gases, or poisoned bait can prove to be exercises in futility; while turning a lawn or garden into battle fields.
There are seven North American mole species: the eastern mole, hairy-tailed mole, star-nosed mole, broad-footed mole, Townsend’s mole, coast mole, and shrew mole. The most wide-ranging is the eastern mole, which is found from eastern Texas, north to southern South Dakota and eastward to the Atlantic Ocean.
Moles have a hairless, pointed snout and small eyes.
For the most part, moles live in seclusion and underground burrows and rarely come to the surface. These mammals are solitary and rarely do more than 2 or 3 moles occupy the same burrow system.
Moles have a very high metabolic rate and, therefore, have to consume large amounts of food. The home range of these insectivores is almost 20 times larger than that of a pocket gopher. Because of the extensive tunneling and length of the tunnels, it may appear that many moles occupy an area.
For the most part, moles prefer moist soil with high populations of grubs and earthworms. That is why moles are often a menace on golf courses and lawns. As you fertilize and care for grass, this attracts worms and grubs, which in turn attracts moles and provides a food base for the mammal.
Moles are not social animals. The gestation period for moles is about 42 days and they have an average of 5 young in March to April. Because of their behavior, moles have few predators. It is a rare occasion to see a mole as it moves near a tunnel entrance.
Moles tend to be very aggressive and will kill and consume voles or mice that may venture into their tunnels. The mammal will consume about 85% of its body weight in food daily. A study on eastern moles revealed that the majority of food found in the stomach contained white grubs and earthworm. Beetles, beetle larvae, and other larvae were also present. Ants, wasps, flies and other various insects were also noted.