Mole (M)= Meat eaters (insects, spiders, etc.)
Voles (V)= Vegetarians that love to eat the roots of your plants.
Spring is coming, which is my peak season to breed and I’m gonna be hungry. I’ll be spending most of my time searching for healthy plant roots to chew on. I happen to love the nutrients that can come from a single root. I can typically find everything I need for good snacking in a single yard. Nuts and just about any fruit will do the trick well, and it’s always a bonus when I happen upon a group of bulbs. I’ll even chew the bark at the base of some smaller plants perhaps girdling a couple in the process. I know I’m doing a lot of damage but, I mean we all gotta eat right? Every now and then when my preferred munchies are harder to find, I can manage to swallow some insects or maybe remnants of a dead animal. But I’d really rather have the roots. When I’m not foraging I enjoy good company and the longer my life is the more litters we’ll create, though most of us only make it a few months. If I’m lucky enough to survive a year I’ll have several litters and they’ll in turn have more…
My pals and I often get lumped together in description with our (arguably) less destructive and non-rodent neighbors, the moles. But we actually have very little in common. Moles can sometimes provide beneficial characteristics to a yard by eating harmful insects but they can also be a pain when it comes to your grassy lawn. We appreciate the hard work they put into the tunnels (and they can’t even see!) and love to take advantage of the inconspicuous underground passages. Moles live their entire lives underground while we’re usually just there for protection or warmth. We’re more like our doppelganger mouse pals except where they need shelter and rather be in a barn or house scavenging for food, we’d rather be outside munching on your plants. There are some small physical differences between us as well, such as our shorter tale, and we tend to be a little heftier but often it’s hard to tell. Chances are if it’s in the house it’s more likely a mouse and if outside it’s probably a vole. In any case, we’re usually harder to get rid of since there isn’t really any long-term preventable thing you can do to keep us away. There are some subtle things you can do to help, such as keeping tall grass mowed, not leaving wood piles around, and keeping the mulch beds on the lighter side. An outside cat may help too but this is subjective and may lead to an occasional missing bird.
So, happy gardening this spring, and good luck! Remember that in the end, we’ll all be together in the dirt, perhaps providing our own meals to the outdoor critters:)