Voles and moles: how to distinguish them?

Voles and moles: how to distinguish them?

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The field voles they are not dangerous for humans, but they can do a lot of damage in the garden and in the vegetable garden because they feed on roots and bark. Moles, on the other hand, are harmless, indeed even useful, thanks to their diet based on larvae, worms and slugs. OK but how to distinguish voles and country mice from moles?

Since all these rodents come out of their burrows only at night and it is not easy to see them, however distinguish voles from moles you have to pay attention to some differences concerning the burrows.

The most obvious difference is that the mounds of land of the voles they are lower than those of moles. Digging a bit, we realize that the underground passages of the voles they are quite straight, have smooth walls and the section is more or less the oval of an egg, as well as the shape. Furthermore the voles and the country rats have the habit of always closing the openings of the tunnels, where the 'hole' is almost never seen.

Moles are definitely more peaceful. Their burrows have mostly rounded tunnels and the remains of roots of the surrounding vegetation emerge from the walls. This is because moles feed on larvae, worms and insects and have no interest in the roots of flowers and vegetables.

Apart from burrows, if you happen to see voles you can recognize them with a body from 12 to 20 centimeters long, typically stocky, with a tail that can reach 10 centimeters and small ears (but present) hidden in the coat. The fur is brown on the back and light on the abdomen.


Moles are 14-16 centimeters long, the tail slightly exceeds 3 cm, the ears are completely invisible because they have no auricles and the nose is flesh-colored. The fur is almost always black, sometimes tending to gray. But the typical feature of moles is in the front legs: wide, massive and with nails suitable for intensive digging.

The voles and mice love to eat roots and bark. Their favorite foods are tulip and hyacinth bulbs, peony and delphinium. These 'delicacies' can cause a real massacre, but all root vegetables, salads, rose bushes and even young trees are at risk. Removing these rodents with natural remedies is self-defense.

To dislodge the voles ultrasound can be used. There are simple and inexpensive devices that are inserted into the ground and emit sound vibrations that are imperceptible for humans and pets but annoying for rodents. Of course, the moles will also go away. These 'chasers' can run on solar or battery power. Solar powered ones are excellent, but the power supply has limitations and sometimes there are discharges before dawn when the rodents are more active; in this case it is better to spend a little more and buy a reliable one. The battery-powered ones (perhaps the rechargeable type) are more rudimentary and at a good price, less green, but they work continuously (as long as there is a battery).

Drive away solar powered mice

Battery-driven mouse chaser

You may also be interested in this article: Mouse traps and other unwelcome guests in the garden

Video: Mole, Vole and Gopher Mound Identification (August 2022).