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Pest Name: Mole - Talpa europaea

Markings: Black smooth velvety hair over most of the body. No visual differences of sexes.

Location: Widespread throughout Britain, but absent from Ireland.

Detection: Sightings of live animals, mole hills, runs/tunnels. Subsidence.

General Information: Size - About 11-18cm from nose to tail. Weight about 100 grammes.

Moles are abundant throughout Britain except Ireland, and they spend the majority of their lives below ground. Their forelimbs are well adapted for burrowing in earth, being shovel shaped and turned outwards to facilitate earth removal. Moles have poor eyesight their eyes being greatly reduced in size. They are about 15cm in length, have a shiny black short coat with a velvety appearance and a short thin tail.

Biology: Moles breed from February to June with only one litter of young being the norm. The gestation period is about 4 weeks and the young are born pink skinned, blind and wholly dependant on there mother. The average litter is 4 but anything from 2 to 7 is born in a specially constructed extra large mound of earth called a "Fortress".

The young mature very quickly and leave the nest after about 5 weeks. Moles do not hibernate and are extremely active creating and extending a network of tunnels below ground. These tunnels are regularly patrolled in search of earthworms, their main food but insect larvae and slugs also occasionally form part of their diet.

Signs of Infestation: Moles are solitary and very territorial, only coming together to breed. The presence of moles is usually noted by the appearance of casts of earth thrown up from tunnels excavated below ground. The quantity of mole hills is not an indication of the number of moles present.

Moles are so fiercely territorial that one mole's territory might be as much as 200m2 (1 imperial acre), and even in the largest of garden situations, many casts of earth will be the result of one mole. Moles rarely traffic above ground and droppings or surface never occur.

Mole hills are unsightly dotted over ornamental lawns and are particularly damaging on golf greens, bowling greens and playing fields. Damage to mowing machines can occur from excavated stones in mole hills, contacting with mower blades.

Wasps & Hornets have a potentially fatal sting

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