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What Do Moles Eat [Year-Round food habits]

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Moles are busy diggers in the garden. Even though their hills might bother us, these curious creatures are very important for the underground world. 

Moles are interesting animals that live below the Earth’s surface. They have special habits and like certain foods. 

This article will explore what do moles eat all year round, what do baby moles eat, the different types of moles and what they eat, how they hunt, and the problems they can cause in your garden. 

We will also share ways to stop these underground guests. But first, let’s learn about where they live.

About The Habitat

Moles make their homes beneath the surface, constructing tunnels and burrows in the soil for nesting, storing food, and disposing of waste. 

They are adaptable creatures, thriving in various environments such as gardens, lawns, meadows, and forests, and they can withstand both wet and dry soils. 

While they prefer damp soil for digging, they can also manage other types of soil.

These resourceful animals often frequent gardens and lawns with fertile soil, where they feed on insects and invertebrates. 

Their ability to adapt allows them to be found in urban areas, utilizing lawns and gardens as sources of food. 

Active primarily during the night, moles steer clear of predators while hunting for their preferred prey, earthworms.

Understanding their habitat preferences is crucial for effective management in different environments, whether it be a garden or a woodland area.

Now we know how important their homes are, let’s talk about what moles like to eat all year round.

What do Moles Eat Year-Round?

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Moles stay busy and hungry all year long, so their food choices don’t change a lot with the seasons. 

But, they might pay more attention to certain types of food depending on things like how hot or cold it is, how much moisture is in the ground, and what kind of prey is around.

1. In the warmer months, moles have a diverse menu

Earthworms, the all-time favorites, become even more prominent.

As spring and fall arrive, earthworms move closer to the surface, becoming easy snacks for moles.

With the soil warming up, insects like beetle larvae, caterpillars, and pupae become more active.

Moles take advantage of this increased insect activity, expanding their prey selection and boosting their protein intake.

When it rains, slugs and snails make appearances more often. These slimy invertebrates become another tempting option for moles on the lookout for opportunistic meals.

2. In the colder months, moles adapt their dining habits

As the temperature decreases and earthworms go deeper into the ground, moles also delve deeper to find their favorite prey.

Moles can be quite resourceful, even tailing burrowing insects like grubs to their winter hideouts, ensuring they have a consistent food source.

In rare cases of severe food shortages, moles might resort to occasional nibbles on plant roots or bulbs.

However, this is not their preferred choice and is considered a last resort.

Mostly they eat insects all year round, but they’re smart about finding different kinds of bugs depending on the season. 

This adaptability helps them keep up with their constant digging and high energy needs.

Knowing about these changes in their eating habits can be useful for predicting and handling mole activity in your garden.

What do Baby Moles Eat?

Baby moles, also called mole pups, eat food that’s a bit like what adult moles eat, but it’s easier for them to digest. 

When they’re very little, their mom gives them a special diet. She regurgitates a mix of partly-digested insects and earthworms, providing the right nutrients for the baby moles to grow.

This way, the tiny mole pups get all the proteins and important stuff they need from their mom. 

As they get bigger, they start eating a diet more like adult moles, with various insects, earthworms, and other small creatures from the soil. 

The food they get from their mom, in the beginning, is important for their early growth and survival underground.

Now that we’ve looked at how baby moles start their lives, let’s turn our attention to the various kinds of moles and the different foods they eat.

Different Types of Moles  

1. Star-Nosed Mole

This special mole stands out with its snout shaped like a star, making it a master in aquatic surroundings. 

It thrives on a diet mainly consisting of aquatic insects and crustaceans such as crayfish, shrimp, and dragonfly nymphs. 

The remarkable sensitivity of their star-shaped snouts allows them to skillfully detect underwater prey.

Surprisingly, even though they’re experts in aquatic dining, earthworms are not entirely off the menu for Star-Nosed Moles

They might still indulge in earthworms, especially when the weather is drier and water levels decrease.

2. Eastern Mole

This mole from North America enjoys earthworms, and it eats a lot of them.

It’s quite skilled at using its shovel-like paws to dig up beetles and beetle larvae, adding some variety to its menu.

When food is hard to find, Eastern moles might nibble on plant roots and fungi, but it’s not something they prefer.

They usually stick to their favorite meals of earthworms and beetles.

3. European Mole 

While earthworms still have a place on their menu, European moles specialize in hunting beetles and their larvae. 

Their strong claws help them dig through hard soil to find these crunchy bugs. 

While they do enjoy feasting on earthworms too, European moles are experts at making a buffet out of beetles, especially when there’s a lot of earthworm activity.

4. The Shrew-Mole

Despite being small, this insect-loving creature from Southeast Asia has a big appetite. 

Its favorite meals include ants, termites, and other soft-bodied insects, which it skillfully hunts using its long and sensitive snout.

While earthworms do find a spot on their menu, it’s not as common for the Shrew-Mole compared to other types of moles. They prefer the variety of flavors that come with soft-bodied insects.

Here’s a peek into the interesting food choices of moles. Each type of mole has unique ways of eating, showing that even underground, there’s a lively mix of life and cleverness in every meal they enjoy.

Hunting Patterns of Moles

1. Tunneling and Patrolling

Moles are skilled diggers, crafting intricate tunnel networks underground with their powerful front limbs and sharp claws. They then move actively through these tunnels, keeping an eye out for potential prey.

2. Ambushing Prey

Recognized for their patient hunting style, where they set up shallow tunnels near the surface and patiently wait for unsuspecting insects or worms to come by. 

Once they sense vibrations or disturbances, they swiftly seize the opportunity to capture their prey.

3. Sense of Smell and Touch 

They possess an impressive sense of smell and touch that they employ to find their prey.

Their sensitive snouts are adept at picking up scents from insects and earthworms, enabling them to move through the soil with great precision.

4. Tracking Vibrations

Moles are incredibly sensitive to the vibrations in the soil, especially when insects or other potential prey are on the move. They rely on these vibrations as signals to find and catch their meals.

5. Eating on the Go

These creatures have a habit of grabbing a bite while they’re on the move through their tunnels.

As they journey through the underground passages, they actively search for insects, grubs, and earthworms, ensuring a continuous source of nourishment.

As we learn more about how moles behave, it’s important to talk about the ways they might harm our gardens.

How Moles Can Damage Your Garden?

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1. Root Disturbance

The main issue arises from the intricate tunnels moles create. As they dig, plant roots can get cut, impacting their capacity to take in water and nutrients. This can result in:

1.1 Weakness and slow growth: Plants may seem feeble and face challenges in reaching their maximum size.

1.2 Yellowing and wilting leaves: Damage to the roots hampers nutrient absorption, causing leaves to lose their healthy green color and eventually wither.

1.3 Patches of dead vegetation: When the disruption is widespread, specific parts of your garden might experience issues due to root disturbance.

2. Surface Disturbances

Molehills, those heaps of dug-up soil, go beyond being just unpleasant to look at. They can:

2.1 Harm fragile plants: Young plants or delicate flowers may get squashed or covered by collapsing molehills.

2.2 Mess with irrigation: Tunnels and mounds can interfere with underground sprinkler systems, causing uneven watering and possibly stressing plants.

2.3 Pose tripping risks: Especially in busy areas like lawns, molehills can be a tripping hazard for both people and pets.

3. Inviting Unwanted Guests

Although moles mainly dine on insects, the tunnels they create can become gateways for other undesirable garden visitors, including:

3.1 Voles: These tiny rodents easily exploit mole tunnels to reach your plants, indulging in nibbling on tender roots and stems.

3.2 Gophers: In certain regions, gophers might follow and enlarge mole tunnels, resulting in more extensive harm to your underground garden setting.

Prevention Techniques To Get Rid of Moles

Putting effective prevention techniques into action can discourage moles from causing disruptions in your garden.

Here are some practical strategies to consider:

1. Natural Repellents: Make use of natural repellents like products containing castor oil. Moles don’t like the taste or smell of castor oil, making treated areas less attractive to them.

2. Planting Deterrents: Opt for plants that moles aren’t fond of, such as daffodils, marigolds, or alliums.

These can naturally deter moles, creating an environment they find less appealing.

3. Physical Barriers: Install underground barriers made of mesh wire or hardware cloth to stop moles from tunneling into specific areas.

This physical deterrent works well in safeguarding vulnerable plant beds.

4. Reducing Watering: Moles are drawn to well-irrigated soil, making it easier for them to dig.

Consider cutting back on watering in areas where moles are active to make the soil less tempting.

5. Regular Lawn Maintenance: Keep your lawn in good shape by promptly filling in molehills and leveling the soil. Regular maintenance decreases the allure of your garden to moles.

6. Grub Control: Since moles feed on grubs and larvae, managing their population can make your garden less appealing. Use suitable insecticides or biological control methods.

7. Ultrasonic Devices: Install devices that emit sounds or vibrations, as moles are sensitive to these disruptions. These devices can discourage mole activity in the treated area.

8. Trapping: If mole activity is severe, consider humane trapping methods. Live traps or other mole-specific traps can help you relocate moles away from your garden.

Keep in mind that combining several of these techniques may be most effective, given that moles can be persistent. 

By incorporating preventive measures, you can establish an environment that is less inviting to mole activity and reduce potential damage to your garden.


In summary, it’s important to know what moles eat and how they behave to live well with these animals that live underground. 

If you understand their job of keeping insects in check and taking steps to prevent issues, you can make both your garden and moles happy. 

With the right knowledge and smart plans, you can have a garden that grows well without being bothered by these interesting creatures.


What do moles hate the most?

Moles dislike strong smells and vibrations. Things like garlic, castor oil, or even certain plants with strong scents can deter them.
Also, they don’t like the ground vibrating, so some people use vibrating devices to keep them away.

What will attract moles?

Moles are attracted to places with plenty of earthworms and insects, which make up their main diet. So, if your garden has a lot of these, it might attract moles.
Additionally, areas with loose and moist soil are more appealing to them.

How much do moles eat a day?

Moles are quite small, and they eat approximately their body weight in food each day. This mainly consists of insects, larvae, and worms.
They are active hunters, constantly searching for food in the soil.

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