How To Capture Moles for Relocation

Capture moles for relocation

Lethal, scissor-jawed mole traps do their job well and are easy enough to set, but we think a mole you insist on removing should be captured live and relocated.

Spring flooding, where it occurs in low-lying areas or streamsides, is a natural control of mole populations. The adults may manage to climb out of their tunnels to an elevated ridge or mass of drifting materials while they wait for the water to subside, but the young are extremely vulnerable in their nests, and even heavy rains have been known to drown them. Water can be similarly used to help relocate a mole you’ve deemed errant. It is likely to be most effective if used against West Coast moles that betray their deeper nests by throwing up large mole hills. Open the mole hill, poke a hose into the tunnel, and turn on the water. You can expect it to take a little while before there is enough water in the tunnels to flush the mole. Watch for the mole’s emergence from one of its other exits. Scoop it up with a shovel and relocate it outside the garden.

Moles can also be captured live in a pit trap, then released away from the garden. Determine which is an active runway by pressing down the tunnels and looking for one that is reopened. Open that tunnel and bury a large-mouth jar or coffee can in the path of the mole and cave in the runway just in front of the jar on both sides. Then cover the top of the disturbed section of the tunnel securely with a board. No light should penetrate the tunnel where the trap has been placed. A mole will not be able to climb out of a 3-pound coffee can.

If you have not caught the mole after two days, it probably means the mole is no longer working over that area or that you disturbed the area too much in setting the pit trap. Move the coffee can to a new location. Better yet, recycle the can and give the poor mole a break.

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