Vole vs. Mole



Apart from their names rhyming, voles and moles are quite similar. Both are pests, they navigate through tunnels, and have the potential to cause massive damage to your lawn. Due to these similarities, it can be a bit overwhelming for you to know what you are dealing with. This is the main reason why we came up with this vole vs mole article, to help you know their different attributes, what damage each cause, and how to control each of them.

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Vole vs Mole – Appearance

Voles are often confused by most people as moles and vice versa.  If you have no experience with identifying these kinds of creatures, you might think that a vole and a mole are one and the same. This could be due to the striking similarities in their looks or due to the fact that voles almost always adopt burrows left behind by moles which enforces the view that they are the same.However, when you take a deeper look, you will realize that this is not the case. The two are quite different in terms of appearance:


Voles have grayish-brown coats and are quite furry animals. Mature voles can grow up to 6 inches in length, including their tails. In addition to this, they have notably short limbs. Vole damage in yards is usually characterized by creation of lengthy pathways, which are majorly made of plants. Unlike moles, voles hardly create heaps of soil on the ground surface. Voles usually eat seeds, plants, tree barks, and bugs. They look for their food all year long, but are mostly active during the winter season, when snow has covered their tracks. It is also easy to notice voles since they live together in large colonies.


Moles are black, gray, gold, or deep-brown in color. Most of them usually have white markings on their smooth coats. A mature mole can have a length of up to 8 inches. The distinctive qualities of a mole include miniscule ears and eyes, angular snouts, and wide front feet. They have underground homes and search for food by digging around soil. Moles mainly eat ants, snails, beetles, and earthworms. In addition to this, moles are active all year round. Unlike voles, moles are solitary mammals and only interact with each other when they want to breed.

Vole vs Mole – Potential Damage

Due to their distinct food and feeding habits, the damage caused by voles and moles will be quite different.  Also another distinguishing factor is the depth at which the two dig their “houses’ with moles creating very complex networks of feeding tunnels under the soil surface and sleep deeper into the soil, voles prefer closer to the surface burrows with direct access to low lying vegetation.


As earlier mentioned, voles consume plants, and thus have a great potential to cause some serious damage to your garden. In fact, they not only damage the surface of your lawn but also the whole root system of your plants. Their garden destruction reaches a whole new level during the winter season, where they consume even tree barks.


Unlike voles, moles are insectivorous animals. Therefore, they will create very minimal trouble for your plants. Moles feed on insects and worms, and will help to reduce bugs in your garden. Although they don’t consume plants, they will still cause some destruction. If you have a mole problem, you will occasionally find burrows in your lawn due to their extensive digging habit. They also pull up the roots of your plants while digging. Moles tunneling can wreak havoc by uprooting flowers and plants, resulting to plant damage and death.

Vole Vs Mole – Method of Control

Since you now know what pest you are dealing with, have a look at some methods you can use to control voles and moles.


You can eliminate voles from your garden by cleaning all litter around your lawns, removing weeds, and cutting ground covers. This is important as it helps ensure that voles have no place to hide. Creating a channel drain of about eighteen inches will also assist to prevent voles from attacking your plants.

Snap traps built specifically for mice can also be quite effective at catching voles. A mix of oatmeal and peanut butter would act as the best bait for this purpose. For the best results, consider placing such traps along areas where voles are most active. Remember to also disguise the traps with grass, leaves, or an inverted box. Note that we don’t recommend the use of poison baits, as they pose a health risk to you, your family, pets, and other wildlife.


Killing moles is usually regarded as the best way to get rid of them. Well, this can be done by the use of traps and baits. Harpoon-type and scissor-type traps are easily available and prove to be highly effective for long-term mole control. The best way to go about this step is to strategically place traps in moles pathways.

Another method you can use to eliminate moles in your lawn is to use lawn roller on a regular basis on your garden occasionally. Since lawn rollers are made of steel wheels, they will crush all mounds and tunnels created by moles. Due to this, moles will have no other thing but to leave your lawn.

Other Methods You Can Use to Control Voles and Moles


One method you can use to get rid of moles and voles is to dig up a trench around your garden. Nevertheless, this method seems only effective in smaller vegetable gardens.

Wire Screen Mesh

You could also consider lining your garden bed with some hardware cloth. For moles, you need to dig up the wire mesh barrier to a depth of about 30 inches, then extend to 6 inches above the ground. Since the method is labor intensive, it might be impracticable for a small garden.

Wire screen mesh can also be used to prevent voles from destroying tree trunks as you just have to wrap it around the trunk to a height of at least 20 inches. You could also protect bulbs by building wire cages around them.


Differentiating between moles and voles can be a bit tough, mostly when you have no experience doing this. This is mainly due to the fact that the two depict almost similar characteristics. However, with a closer look, you will realize that voles and moles have different behavior and feeding habits. In this article on vole vs mole, we have listed several differences that will help you take the right precautions.


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