Should people be controlling moles especially at breeding time?
The mole- It is an altricial mammal, now I do not expect many to know exactly what this entails, not even the professional mole control fraternity will be familiar with the term. An altricial animal will have young that are born blind and totally rely upon the care and nurture from their mother. Immediately the new-born moles fall into this category, which raises the issue of should moles be a target for any form of control during the breeding months. We have no definite knowledge from what we are permitted to observe from above ground to the sex of any target mole. We can during the spring, presume from the rows and lines of molehills to be the actions of a male mole but with general areas of damage it is not always possible to determine what gender the resident mole maybe, whether it is a feeding adult mole or one feeding others. The new-born moles are blind not opening their eyes until 22 days and therefore dependent upon their mother for their complete survival until weaned at five to six weeks so everyone who controls a mole must deliberate- is there a need for moles to be controlled during the spring months? During both the spring periods and the impending dry months following, the dispersal of the new born, questions of the need and morality to control moles will always be a controversial topic for discussion. As pressure increases on the harsh lives moles lead in the spring to exist as a species and to source vital food under dry conditions, the land we share with them will become fraught with conflict. We will encourage their presence with irrigation and soil maintenance only to require their demise, so we must be judicious in our decision? Nature determines when the time is right and only then will most species respond to the requirements to exist as a species. For the moles, this is a huge change in life style as their almost solitary routine is placed into chaos, as they now must tolerate each other be it for just a short time. For the moles, this will be with the warming of the soil, in the South this could start as early as late February to early March and later in the colder North. They will undertake a chemical change as the female moles will come into season and the males moles will fill with testosterone, fuelled with desire the moles will very often be the topic of conversation by those not so conversant with the way of the common mole. As more and larger molehills appear, lawns lifted and soil is seen dumped in localities not frequented by moles since, well this time last year, promoting talk in and on social media of a false claim to an explosion in the mole population. Mole breeding is actually an extremely clever affair, and something every landowner should have some understanding of, as it can save you time, effort and for those of whom employ professional services, could keep your cash in your pocket. For a creature that has its differences with those of the same species, the existence of the numbers may seem a bit of a problem, but the moles overcome this barrier in what when looked at closely as an ingenious solution. To quell the myth about the moles hate for one another, they do not actually hate, lets say slightly dislike each others presence in an area. This is obvious with their demand for any available food, which will bring about argument especially between adult and juvenile moles following this extraordinary tolerance to share sexual companionship be it for a very short time. To claim you never get two moles together is not strictly true, I often experience two moles sharing an area of feeding in hard times. When drought creates any oasis of available food, moles will be attracted to the area. They may not feed at the same time to avoid confrontation but from removing two sometimes three moles from the same location over a couple of days reveals the harsh and challenging lives, they lead. The harshness never leaves their lives and no more so than during the breeding season. Nature with the warming of the soil instigates the process by encouraging new life in the soil. The necessary soil dwelling bugs and grubs trigger the process, this welcoming increase of food instigating moles across the country to respond. If you experience mole activity in the springtime, it will be an increase either in the number or in size of molehills, or a row of molehills running across the garden or flanking any areas of natural drip. Sudden increases in the number or size of your molehills, will indicate the presence of a female mole, incidentally we call these a Doe. The Doe will have by this point have already mated with a male or Buck, as she will be required to increase the feeding ground, create further kitchens to reap and store the food. Moles will store excessive finds of worms or in the event of breeding actually work; to harvest food that they will stock up in special chambers called worm larders. The mole will bite the worm, which will place it in a state of diapause, similar to when they go into estivation; it slows them down and prevents them moving away until the bite has healed. It take approximately 28 days for that bite on the worm to heal and the gestation period of a female moles is, yes just 28 days, is nature not a wonderful thing. As stated moles will store large numbers of worms, they find at all times of the year, a fact which you should keep in mind when the mole activity provides evidence the mole has left and it suddenly starts back up as the larders now empty require filling. If you find a moles stash of worms, expect to find dozens of worms matted together awaiting the fate of consumption. The female mole will not just accept the amorous advances of just any male mole. The doe must be in season to accept any advances and her season, which occurs just once in the year and for just 24 hours, is unpredictable to exactly when during the spring period it will happen. It is this randomness that makes the moles so successful in maintaining their numbers that remain at a constant total estimated in excess of 35 million despite all the attacks and hardship that befalls them. With the female moles oestrus cycles so indiscriminate and the male moles now running on high levels of testosterone, the bucks are constantly seeking any available doe with which to mate. If the male mole enters into a location of a doe that is not in a state of sexual receptivity, he either will leave of his own accord or be forced away with aggression, which even being of a larger more dominant animal will be subservient and leave in search of a more obliging partner. Finding some receptive females results either in many treks along tunnels recently created or from the cleaning out of those not used since the last rush for existence. So you can understand why these rampant males go to such lengths to support the need for the once a year excursions and why your garden could feature an unaccustomed row of mole workings. Confronted with a queue of molehills in, across, or around the garden is not something immediately for concern. With an ability to travel at speeds up to 3 kilometres per hour the mole responsible is long gone, more on its mind then a need to reorganize anyone’s garden. Should someone feel an impulse to place a device or worst pay for some eradication technique then any mole that succumbs to the task would be taken completely unnecessarily, as it had no intention of staying. Leaving all well alone will allow the moles to pass on their way often without you ever knowing the excitement and expectations of those bucks below. These tunnels of existence many that have not have been used for best part of a year once opened are an orbital road system for every Romeo mole in the area and those from afar. The unpredictable time for the moles breeding to start from the difference in regional temperatures, combined with the irregular oestrus cycles of the female moles creates a migration of male moles. It is a migration that continues until the testosterone levels return to normal, often leaving the once rampant moles in new areas, some preferable to the one they knew so well or for others lacking the home comforts and a journey home must be made. Those embarking on the treacherous return journey will be responsible for the second wave of mole activity as the row of molehills return fuelling further claims of a population boom. So in the springtime expect a possible second wave of activity, as the revelling male moles return home. Those astute amongst you may have realised the males play no part in the rearing of the off spring, no change there girls. The males’ prime objective is to ensure that all the available female moles are pregnant in the spring. It is a remarkable way for the success of the species, reduces inter breeding and spreads the species to all suitable areas. Whilst all the male moles are carousing, the females that have conceived will be hard at work, tunnelling to locate new sources of food, any male bursting in will certainly be met with the aggression and frustration of an expectant mother striving to ensure the success of the litter. Indication to the females now in the midst of gestation, birth, and providing for the new-born may not always be obvious to the gardener. The staggered birth rates, different locations, often in various areas over different distances will make it very difficult to decide on when or if a mole should be taken at a time of possible multiplication. A small garden may be only a small part of a larger complex of tunnels providing for the new family but the removal of a mole could be the demise of a nest of new-born kits destined from that moment to death by neglect. Professional services may hold no concern or compassion for the circumstances as finance rules over welfare but as top of the food chain it is us that must decide and make that choice. Choose wisely