If you’re a curious observer of the natural world, you’ve probably noticed that moles have an odd diet. Beyond the occasional grub or earthworm, they seem to subsist on a secret menu only they can access. So, what does the mole eat? In this article, I’ll explore the surprisingly complex and varied diet of this enigmatic little creature.
We’ll divide our discussion into two parts: wild moles and captive moles. After answering some of the most common questions about what each type of mole eats, we’ll discuss whether moles hibernate and how that affects their eating habits.
We’ll also focus on specific regions—like Florida—and look at what other plants, fruits, or insects might be on their daily menu. Finally, we’ll analyze what house moles eat, as well as species-specific diets like those of golden moles and marsupial moles.
What Do Moles Eat in the Wild?
Moles are small mammals that have adapted to living underground. They are most well-known for their network of burrows and tunnels in the ground, but what do moles actually eat?
In the wild, moles primarily feed on earthworms as their main source of sustenance. Moles also eat other types of invertebrates such as insects, larvae, centipedes, and mice. In fact, moles can eat up to 100% of their own body weight each day.
It’s important to note that moles can also feed on plants like roots and tubers, but only when there is a shortage of the typical invertebrates they prefer. In addition to this, moles can also be found eating fruits and seeds depending on the seasonality and availability of these food sources.
What Do Moles Eat in Captivity?
Captive moles can be kept as pets, in educational settings, or on fur farms. When they are kept in captivity, moles typically eat commercially made food pellets that are high in protein and calcium-rich. Additionally, if given the opportunity, many moles also like to eat juicy fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, sweet potatoes and cucumbers.
Moles also enjoy eating insects like worms, slugs and grasshoppers; some people even feed them ground beef, dog food, mice and small birds. If these types of food items aren’t available for the pet mole owner to purchase at their local pet store then it’s best to avoid feeding their pet these types of foods.
Some moles may learn to eat certain types of fungi which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. Therefore, it is important to be cautious when feeding moles mushrooms or other types of organisms that are often found underground.
Captive moles should never consume frogs or mutton as it could lead to disease or infection. Cheese should also be avoided as it can cause digestive problems in moles due to the lack of lactose-digesting enzymes within the body.
How Do Moles Get Their Food?
Moles consume up to 100% of their body weight in food daily, and they’re always on the move in search of a meal. They burrow up to 150 feet of new tunnels a day in search of earthworms, slugs, snails and other insects.
Moles are expert diggers – they use their powerful forepaws to dig tunnels with ease. They can dig straight down or through hard surfaces like rocks and roots using sharp claws on their hind feet. Moles also have specialized facial features that help them sense vibrations in the ground when an insect is near.
In addition to worms and other insects, moles also eat larvae, centipedes and spiders. In winter, moles may turn to plants for sustenance, eating roots, bulbs and rhizomes of plants like grasses. There are some plants that moles won’t eat – daffodils, for example – so this can be a way to protect your garden from these troublemakers.
Moles also engage in short periods of hibernation when necessary to survive cold temperatures or food shortages; during these times they may consume stored fat reserves throughout the winter months as a source of nutrition.
What Plants Do Moles Eat?
Despite their often destructive nature, moles are actually fairly picky eaters. One thing they do not eat is plants or roots. Moles mainly eat a diet of insects, grubs, and earthworms – not vegetables or fruits.
This means that if you have moles in your garden or yard, you don’t have to worry about them eating your prized flowers or vegetables; however, they can still damage nearby plants and grass by tunneling through them.
While moles will sometimes feed on other small creatures such as mice and voles, such behavior is rare. They also don’t feed on termites or ants, making them ineffective at controlling ant populations. In captivity, moles can be fed fruit, vegetables, and other plant matter as treats to supplement their normal diet of insects and worms.
Do Moles Eat Insects and Other Small Animals?
Moles are carnivorous by nature and their primary diet consists mainly of insects and their larvae, along with grubs, earthworms, and other small animals. Moles can consume up to 100% of their body weight in insects a day. In addition to insects, moles may also eat centipedes, millipedes, snails, crickets, spiders and other various insects.
Mice are not a plentiful source of food for moles as they are rarely found in mole runs. However, moles do have the ability to detect earthworms and other small animals that make up the bulk of their diet from distances of a meter or more away.
When it comes to plants, moles usually only eat roots and bulbs; however they may also consume ripe fruits when available. It is important to note that moles will generally avoid onions and garlic as the smell tends to repel them.
How to Deter Moles From Eating Your Plants and Yard
You may not want to share your yard or garden with moles, but if you want to deter them from coming around and eating your plants, there are some simple steps you can take.
Certain plants can act as natural deterrents. Marigolds, alliums, fritillarias, daffodils, garlic, shallots, and castor bean plants can be used to deter moles from yards. Moles have a sensitive sense of smell, and these aromatic plants produce a smell that moles don’t enjoy. Planting daffodils around the edge of your garden is an effective way to keep moles away.
Castor bean oil and cedar oil are natural repellents for moles. If you’ve seen mole tunnels and burrows near your home or garden, these repellents can help keep them away by emitting a strong smell that moles dislike. Castor bean oil is especially effective for deterring moles since it has a very pungent smell that lingers for up to two weeks after it’s applied. You can spray the oil directly onto molehills or tunnels in order to discourage them from returning.
In summary, moles are omnivorous creatures that eat a variety of food items, including roots, earthworms, grubs, and sometimes even mice. They may feed on plants and fruits in their environment, but they primarily prefer to munch on invertebrates, such as earthworms.
Moles are adapted to the cold and may not eat much during winter. Other factors, such as environmental changes or human interference, can also cause them to switch up their diet. It is important to understand the diet of a mole in order to better control their populations and keep your yard and garden safe.