After the initial plotting and planting of a garden, the growth phase begins. For every dedicated gardener, there are a myriad of complications that arise, all of which they try their fullest to overcome in order to protect their turf – the most common being garden pests.
Out of the many varieties of garden pests moles are one of the trickiest to deal with. Moles, also known as mould warp in the past are sturdy little mammals that live below the soil. Even though they are considered a garden pest moles are a protected species in some countries. People argue that by labeling them as garden pest moles are subjected to a lot of ruthless savagery in the form of traps and chemical poisoning. They believe that the threat moles pose to plant life is not through direct association; unlike other garden pest moles tend to cause disruption due to their industrious lifestyle.
They are partially blind, but have a highly developed sense of smell and powerful front paws which they use for burrowing. Moles create a complex network of tunnels which include their living quarters as well as a larder to store their food for later consumption. Their diet consists mainly of earthworms and insects as well as the odd mouse or other moles, and eats half their weight on a daily basis. Completely unaware of their title as garden pest moles -some believe- are on their way to becoming extinct.
As a fully realized garden pest moles do a lot of damage. Mole hills breakup smooth turf and uproot planted bulbs, while the network of tunnels underneath make it difficult for plants to take root and grow properly. They also create a lot of complications on farms by contaminating soil and endangering the livestock, damaging agricultural machinery and drainage systems.
In order to deal with this form of garden pest moles are usually chemically gassed in their underground chambers or set traps by irate farmers and gardeners. Their tunnels are also smoked and flooded and sometimes cat litter and blood meal is used to drive them away. Some gardeners try to use humane methods eradication by capturing the moles and transporting them elsewhere. According to some, since most of the damage moles cause to a garden is visual, they recommend tidying up the surface and allowing the mole to continue its existence underground.
Though generally labeled as a garden pest moles are a varied species that are anything but. These animals share a striking similarity to other burrowers and hence the differentiating title of “true” moles which under classification belong to the Talpidae family. Several other burrowers that could be mistaken for a mole but are more exotic are the golden moles of South Africa, the strand moles and the marsupial moles of Australia.
A niche crowd of activists feel that these animals are mostly misunderstood and strive to protect them. However, it’ll be quite some time before the extinction of moles becomes a mainstream issue.