It’s Like Whack-A-Mole, But Real Life: How to Get Rid of Ground Moles


Maintaining a lush area for landscaping can be quite an undertaking. It requires painstaking amounts of time and effort to make it beautiful in every aspect. This could include the work done on maintaining the lawn and keeping it green and flawless.

But then you encounter holes and shallow tunnels. These often come along with brown areas due to ruined roots.

This is a telltale sign that you may have a mole in your yard. Leaving them as is could cause more damage to your yard.

Today, we will look at how to get rid of ground moles. This includes information on how to spot ground moles. This will also include different methods to ensure that a mole no longer bothers you and your yard.

Ground Moles: Knowing and Differentiating

As a part of learning how to get rid of ground moles, we have to look at what they are first. Ground moles are small mammals with pointy muzzles and tiny eyes. They also have a cylindrical body with a short tail.

They have brown or grey fur. As for the mole’s average size, it is about 4 to 11 inches long.

Moles live underground, where they burrow tunnels to move about and search for food. They prefer loose and moist soil, where they can use their clawed arms to dig a path. With this in mind, they thrive in fields, meadows, orchards, and forests.

One thing to note about moles is their diet. These critters are insectivores, in which they consume insects and grub as food. They go for earthworms, slugs, and insects.

This is one of the factors that differentiate a mole from a vole. In this case, the latter partakes on plants such as stems and blades of lawn grass. These small rodents damage the surrounding trees in your home.

Another thing to note is that moles are quite different from gophers. These tend to be about 5 to 14 inches in size. They also have four large incisors that continue to grow as long as they live.

Like voles, gophers feed on plants. They tend to target tubers and plant roots, where they create a feed hole to feast on them.

How Ground Moles Behave

A mole tends to be active during the daytime, as well as nighttime. While they operate all year round, they tend to slow down when the climate becomes too hot or cold. They get to be at their most active after raining or watering due to the soil being moist.

For moles, the mating season begins during late winter. After which, the gestation period lasts for 42 days. From that point, the female mole gives birth to 2-5 infant moles.

After birth, these baby moles become independent in one month. Noting how solitary these animals are, they only socialize when they reproduce. This helps to note as the usual mole population may range from one mole within six acres of land to five moles or so in one acre.

An interesting note about moles is that they tend to be fast diggers. They can dig at a rate of 15 feet per hour. When conditions are in their favor, such as the case with loose soil, they can dig tunnels at a rate of 12 inches per minute.

Spotting Traces and Signs of Moles

Part of learning how to get rid of ground moles in the lawn is finding their activity signs. In this case, you know that a mole is within the area due to the damage they wreak on your lawn. This comes in the form of tunnels and mounds.

In such an instance, a molehill is one of these signs. These cone-shaped mounds of loose soil go as high as 2 to 8 inches, while they have a diameter of 6-24 inches. Molehills tend to appear due to how moles pause in their digging to push up the loosened soil to the surface.

Another instance of visible damage comes in the form of mole runs. These are surface tunnels that look like irregular ridges and trails of pushed-up soil. They tend to be 3 inches wide due to the tunneling.

A good tidbit to remember about surface tunnels and mole runs is that they only do this is when they scan for a mate. These surface tunnels tend to be about 3 to 12 inches deep below the surface. Otherwise, their tunnels run deep into the ground and could reach as deep as 40 inches.

The tunnels would act as their main passageways. These paths stretch out, forming a network for the moles to navigate through. They also have a nesting area found deep inside, where the baby moles would end up.

It's like whack-a-mole, but real life: how to get rid of ground moles 1

Should You Get Rid of Moles?

Reasons for learning how to get rid of ground moles in the garden and the lawn would vary. Some would choose to get rid of moles for good due to the damages they deal on their yard, lamenting their woes on how less than perfect it looks now with the molehills and the shallow tunnels. Meanwhile, others choose to leave the moles alone and let them run their course in the yard.

There are good reasons for each stance. Leaving moles as can provide benefits for you. Such as the case of eliminating insects and undesirable grubs.

Their tunneling provides a way for the soil to aerate. It also helps bring organic matter deeper into the surface.

However, the presence of molehills and shallow tunnels gives homeowners more reasons to find ground moles undesirable. The most likely reason is that molehills tend to have the “ripple marks” made from each new load of dug-up soil.

Meanwhile, shallow tunnels pose various difficulties in mowing the lawn. It also causes brown patches to appear, with the grass dying out. This is due to the roots taking damage from the burrowing or exposure to air.

For each approach, there is a way for you to work with moles. That is what our next set of steps would cover.

Methods in Dealing with Moles

Getting rid of moles can be a hair-puller, but it is possible. If you find that leaving them alone would prove too much for you to find peace in, you can try these approaches. We will look at each method and see which ones would be fitting without killing off the creature.


One such approach is to create fences and have them placed around a certain area. These need to be as deep as 12 inches or so, ensuring that the fence’s area to stand is at a sufficient depth. For the fence itself, consider using sheet metal or hardware cloth.

This method works great in smaller areas, such as flower beds or seedbeds. The fencing material can prevent tunneling due to how the material impedes digging.

Repelling and Frightening

Another method that you can use is to repel or frighten the moles. These methods range in their effectiveness. However, these would also provide humane and natural ways to ward off moles from your yard.

For repelling them, you can use pet waste to deter moles and repel them. You can put your dog’s waste near the entry and exit points for the mole’s tunnels. This would cause the moles to stay away and not use that tunnel.

You can also strategically place certain plants to keep the moles away. In this case, use plants that moles naturally dislike, such as Castor bean or Narcissus. This also works on gophers.

Another would be to use noise and sound to repel these critters. Wind chimes work well as a means to stop moles. However, the use of noise could prove to be ineffective over time due to repeated exposure.

Reducing Food Supply

Moles subsist on insects and soil-dwelling grubs. A mole would be thriving in areas where there’s a lot of these present. One method to keep them away or migrate to a different location is to cut down their food supply.

You can do this by eliminating the insects such as beetle grubs. By eliminating these food sources, you can drive away the moles and cause them to migrate.


Moles can withstand normal garden or landscape irrigation. Despite this, you can use flooding as a way to drive moles away.

You can take advantage of its entire tunnel system by flooding it. Thus causing the mole to run through the tunnels. This method allows the mole to run towards an area where you can dispatch it with a shovel.

Do note that this works best on moles that invade the property for the first time. This ensures that they don’t have an extensive network of tunnels yet. This bit makes the flooding method easier.

For best results, late winter and early spring are great seasons for you to focus on flooding efforts. Best done before the mole gives birth. However, take extra caution in your flooding attempts when near a building to prevent any complications to the foundation or basement.

It's like whack-a-mole, but real life: how to get rid of ground moles 3

Trapping Moles

Out of the methods mentioned earlier, trapping poses as the better option. There are various traps that you can use to catch a ground mole. With these traps, you have the choice of killing off the mole or catching them alive.

You have traps designed to kill the mole in a quick action. These traps trigger once the mole trips the spring mechanism. This can work as a great option if you plan to get rid of moles without a second thought, not worrying about them coming back after use.

If you prefer not to kill them, you have more humane methods of catching them. For these, you need mole traps designed for live-capture. They incorporate a design focused on encasing the mole and blocking their escape when trapped, instead of killing them on the spot.

Whichever trap you use, you need to spot a tunnel on your property. Any mole tunnel would do as these creatures tend to reuse tunnels. Make sure to check the arming instructions first for more details.

Once you set the trap and cover it up, a good suggestion would be to check on them every 24 hours. This can help you see if there is a mole caught in them, whether you went for live capture or not. If you don’t find anything, reset the traps.

Before you proceed, make sure to check with regulations about trapping depending on your location.

Dealing with Moles in Passive Tolerance

You can still choose to leave the ground moles alone if you desire to. It is an easy setup to work with, as you can deal with the other things that pop up on your property. The approach here is to render their activity less obvious.

One approach is to go for a more naturalistic landscape style. For instance, let the lawn grow up to mask any form of mole activity. If the grass grows too high, you can use a weed-whacker to cut it to the desired length.

You can also remove the molehills as soon as they appear, shoveling up the earth or spreading it in place using a rake. As for ridges, you can stamp them out with your feet. If you notice any depressions caused by the tunneling, you can bring some screened dirt or sand and reseed.

Learn How to Get Rid of Ground Moles Today

Once you know how to get rid of ground moles, you can find ways to ensure that your yard looks pristine and green. If you prefer to leave the moles alone, you can mask any sign of them being around. Whichever action you pick, you can make your yard look wonderful.

Do you want to learn more home and pest management tips? Check out more of our guides to learn all you can today!


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