The mole is not seen very often. The heaps of soil (molehills) which it makes whilst tunnelling gives its presence away. In medieval times it was called a moldewarp (earth thrower).

Moles and Humans

Moles have long been regarded as a pest by many gardeners and farmers. Tunnelling near the surface may disturb the roots of garden plants and crops. Molehills are unsightly on lawns and are an inconvenience in fields to farm machinery.

However, moles are also useful. They eat many pests which are harmful to plant roots, such as leatherjackets, wireworms and cutworms. Their tunnelling helps to aerate the soil which is important to waterlogged areas.

In the past, country parishes used to employ a professional mole-catcher to trap and dig up moles. He would sell the skins to be used as fur trimmings or garments. Even 50 years ago a million or so moles were being trapped every year in Britain.

Moles are still trapped by professional mole catchers in areas where they are considered a nuisance, but because poisons are no longer used as a means of control (this became illegal in 1996) and there are few professional mole catchers left, mole numbers have grown in recent years. 

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