What To Know About Moles in Your Yard

Updated: Mar. 27, 2024

Curious about moles? We've got the scoop on these little diggers.

Moles, with their giant flapper hands, might be the cutest of the burrowing mammals. But if you’ve got mole tunnels and hills throughout your yard, you may have a different attitude about them.

How much do you know about moles? Roger Dickens, wildlife technical services manager with Ehrlich Pest Control, gives us the details about these beneficial but occasionally maddening creatures.

Are Moles Rodents?

No. Dickens says they’re more closely related to bats than mice.

Sometimes people confuse moles with rodents like pocket gophers and voles, though. Dickens says voles and moles can be distinguished by the tunnels they dig. “Moles have underground tunnels,” Dickens says, “while voles tunnel through the grass above ground.”

Like moles, pocket gophers make underground tunnels, but create different kinds of hills. “[M]ole hills are mounds of soil, and gopher mounds have a distinct plug of soil where the gopher closed the opening,” Dickens says. “Mole hills lack this plug because the hills are pushed up from underground.”

Where Do Moles Live?

“Moles live in underground dens that are connected by underground tunnels,” Dickens says. “The dens are often located under solid structures such as downed trees, sidewalks or driveways.”

Moles tunnel under the grass looking for grubs, worms and other bugs. Those tunnels can be shallow or deep, Dickens says, depending on their use and the season. Their burrows and tunnels are typically found where insects thrive, in fields and wooded areas shaded with vegetation. And, of course, sometimes in your yard.

Will moles get in your home?


“As a general rule, moles spend 99% of their time underground,” Dickens says. Because they spend their entire lives digging and looking for insects in the dirt, “moles rarely if ever come above ground and will not enter the home,” Dickens says.

What Do Moles Eat?

Moles are insectivores. They love grubs, other bugs and earthworms. Though their tunnels disturb grass and plant roots, they do not eat plants.

According to the University of Wisconsin, other animals like ground squirrels and mice may use mole tunnels to munch on roots and bulbs. But as far as moles go, Dickens says, “Damage to plants would be inadvertent.”

Are Moles Nocturnal?

Not necessarily. “Moles tend to be active throughout all times of the day due to their habit of remaining underground,” Dickens says.

Even if they tunnel at all hours of the day, Dickens says “while underground, they are safe from predators such as cats, dogs, foxes, coyotes, hawks and owls.”

Do Moles Hibernate?

“No, they are active year-round,” Dickens says. “They are most active in the spring and summer during rainy periods.” That’s because the rain softens the soil, making it easier for them to tunnel and forage.

“During the winter, they tunnel beneath the frost line and continue to forage for food,” he says.

What Attracts and Repels Moles?

Moles tunnel in your yard because there’s food there. “This activity is generally a continuation of tunneling from an adjacent area,” Dickens says. If you have well-drained, loose soil with lots of insect activity and earthworms, a mole will find it appealing.

Repelling moles comes down to reducing their food source, Dickens says, or trapping them. Grub-control pesticides will kill grubs, a bane to gardeners everywhere. Natural methods like milky spores can work, but take several years to reach peak effectiveness. Mole-deterrence products achieve varying levels of success, Dickens says.

Moles go where the food is, so if you get rid of one mole, another might move in. “There is no way to completely eliminate the chances of moles coming into your yard,” Dickens says. “Moles are constantly tunneling and foraging and can find their way into your yard at any time.”

Do Moles Bite People?

No. They have teeth to eat their insect and worm prey, but moles spend their entire lives underground, so you’ll probably never interact with one.

“The chances of ever seeing a live mole above ground are very remote,” Dickens says, “and therefore people or pets are not likely to be bitten.”

Are Moles Dangerous?

No. But their hills and tunnels may harm the grass, create a tripping hazard or interfere with your lawn mower.

Actually, they’re a good animal to have in your yard. “Moles do serve a beneficial purpose by aerating the soil in yards,” Dickens says. “They also control unwanted white grubs in the soil.”

How Long Do Moles Live?

Moles have an average lifespan of three to five years, according to Dickens.