The mole is a gardeners nightmare. By digging galleries, it prevents vegetables from growing by cutting their roots.
Their molehills complicate the mowing of lawns and make the plots unsightly.
Yet his presence is useful. A short trip to the land of the mole and tips for getting away from the garden.
The mole ... did you know?
- It measures 13 to 17 cm for a weight of 100 grams.
- Its front legs, which it uses for digging, are oversized in relation to its body.
- His coat straight and silky allows him to move forward and backward in the galleries.
- Solitary animal, the mole scoupled once a year for a day. She can have five to six babies, which only the mother will raise until she is three months old.
Special features of the mole:
- The mole is myopic. His smell and his hearing particularly developed allow it to locate its food in a wide area.
- The mole positions its tail vertically as it moves to orient and touch. It is the equivalent of vibrissae for cats or dogs.
- The mole is a very good swimmer.
The mole's metabolism is unable to store fat.
- Therefore, unlike some gardener's aids like the hedgehog, the mole does not hibernate.
- It must constantly feed itself in order to live. This is how she works all yearin the garden in search of earthworms (90% of its food), grubs, slugs, mealybugs and larvae of chafer. She consumes the equivalent of her weight per day.
- To give the earthworms no chance to escape from her pantry, she cuts off their heads with her very sharp teeth.
- His life expectancy is four to five years because his teeth wear out quickly. A mole that goes without food for more than twelve hours dies.
Taupe and galleries
The mole digs four kinds of galleries over an area of 300 to 700 meters which form a labyrinth.
- The main galleries run alongside hedges, walls, paths or fences. They serve as a hunting ground for moles.
- The secondary galleries are ramifications of the main galleries.
- Those found on the surface are the work of the males when they search for a female or young who do not yet have the strength to dig.
- The deeper galleries allow it to seek freshness and store its food there.
The molehill, a mound formed by the mole
By digging, the mole consolidates its galleries by compacting the earth. The surplus is rejected by a vertical chimney and forms the molehills.
- This soil is very fine and without insects.
- The gardener can use it for seedlings (adding sand), seedlings in pots or repotting indoor plants or planters (possibility of adding potting soil to enrich it).
- The work of the mole helps to drain the soil and absorb the overflow of rain.
- By stirring up the earth, it participates in the bioturbation by moving nutrients and chemicals and mixing the different layers of the soil.
Keep the mole out of the garden
All the suggested tips are available in the main molehills.
- Have products with a foul odor that will scare away moles, such as castor cake or elderberry manure.
- Install sound devices. Bring an iron stake. Slip one end into a plastic bottle or a tin can. Planted in the ground, the device will stir at the slightest draft creating a noise difficult for the mole to bear. All noises underground are amplified.
- Use ultrasonic devices or firecrackers.
- Introduce spices into the holes of the molehills like hot pepper.
- Plant Euphorbia lathyris, onions, garlic or daffodil bulbs which are mole repellants.
- Place a handful of dog hair at the entrance to the molehill. She will go elsewhere.
Call on a mole maker
If the moles resist, you can call in a mole. A true specialist in the beast, he will be able to capture them to release them in a more suitable place or to set traps to eliminate them permanently.
- You have to plan a budget of 150 to 200 euros per intervention.
When the mole digs its labyrinth, it is more discreet. Why not just rake the molehills and enjoy his work? Because by hunting it, more harmful rodents can invade its habitat.
ATmeditate : « Mole: blind spy who animates the gallery. "
Photo credits: Petr Bonek