How can you tell the difference between vole and mole damage in the yard?

Moles dig complex systems of feeding tunnels just under the soil surface. In lawns, the digging raises the turf so that the tunnels feel soft when we step on them. Most of these tunnels are closed, but the moles may leave open holes here and there. Moles also excavate deeper tunnels marked by conical piles of soil (like mini-volcanoes). The deep tunnels probably are used for resting and reproduction.

Voles create open trails of shredded grass or other vegetation and shallow burrows that are usually smaller and less extensive than those made by moles. They don’t leave piles of soil above ground.

Distinguishing between the two is complicated by the fact that voles sometimes appropriate abandoned mole tunnels, and it is entirely possible that both moles and voles are present in your yard and gardens.

Moles eat soil insects, while voles feed primarily on plants, so different strategies are needed to control them.

Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service office for more detailed information on controlling these animals.

Online Resources:
Vole and Mole Damage