The mole (Talpa europaea) is a common British mammal and, although not often seen, the results of its tunnelling are well known and may cause damage in a range of situations. In gardens and amenity areas, molehills and tunnels can be a significant nuisance. In agriculture, contamination of grass by soil may lead to poor quality silage being produced. There is also a risk of damaging grass-cutting machinery. Mole runs may disturb roots and adversely affect plant growth.
Moles are highly territorial and generally live alone in an extensive tunnel system covering an area of 0.1 to 1.6 ha (¼-4 acres). Mole hills are created as the animals extend and repair their tunnels, which act as traps to catch their main prey, earthworms. One mole can produce a considerable number of hills, particularly where food is in short supply.
Three or four young are born in the spring and these disperse, generally overground, in mid-summer to try to establish their own territories.
Before embarking on mole control, it is important to consider if this action is warranted or if the molehills and tunnels can be tolerated. Where moles have become a pest, there are two main methods of control, trapping or gassing with aluminium phosphide.