Moles vs. Voles
Moles (left) eat meat. Voles (right) eat vegetables. (Photos by Canva)
Moles and voles are often confused with one another. They both can cause damage to your lawn and their names sound very similar. You can use the beginning letter of their name to help you remember the difference!
Voles eat vegetables. Moles eat meat. This distinction can help you determine if you have voles or moles in your yard!
Voles are small rodents with tiny ears, small dark eyes, and short tails. They look quite similar to field mice. Since voles are vegetarians, they rely on plants to provide them with nutrients. Their preferred foods include the bark of thin-barked trees and shrubs. Voles can cause significant damage to landscape plants and turf in late winter and early spring. If you notice plants dying with gnawed off roots, you likely have voles.
On the other hand, moles have beak-like noses, no visible ears, and paddle-like front feet with large claws. They also have very poor eyesight and are sensitive to light, which is why they spend so much time digging holes underground! At a distance, they look like mice. However, they are more closely related to shrews and bats than rodents.
Moles are carnivores and primarily feed on bugs and insects found in the soil. In their attempt to find food, they create easily identifiable tunnels.
Voles also create tunnels, but they generally make “runways” through turf and flowerbeds. The exterior holes to their tunnels are typically the size of golf balls. Voles have also been known to use the tunnels created by moles to eat underground plant roots.
If moles or voles become a nuisance in your yard, Alabama Extension has a great article about how to effectively control these pests.
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