Moles

Call us for a free quote at 1-800-837-5520  or contact us

Differences between moles, voles and shrews

Oftentimes our customers call us to report seeing a small, mouse-like creature scurrying around their landscape. Typically, customers notice burrows in their mulch, or runways that part the grass or in the snow. The culprits are little creatures commonly referred to as moles, but in reality, they may actually be a mole, vole or a shrew.  

Why is it important to distinguish which one you are dealing with?  Well, like most of the pests that we deal with, proper identification is critical because each have different characteristics that will help dictate the best management strategy. To an untrained eye, the difference between a vole vs. mole can be subtle and it can also be difficult to distinguish a vole vs. a shrew, which is why any pest in the yard needs a professional assessment.

If your home or property has been experiencing issues with moles, voles or shrews, contact the experts at Ehrlich online or call us at 800-837-5520 to discuss possible solutions for the problem. We know how to tell the difference between moles, voles and shrews and we can eliminate them from your premises, so reach out to us today.

Mole Anatomy and Characteristics

  • Moles have a pointed snout
  • Moles have enlarged front feet used for digging
  • Moles have eyes and ears so tiny that they are not visible.
  • Moles live underground in tunnels
  • Moles are predatory in nature
  • Moles primarily feed on earthworms, grubs, beetles and other animals or arthropods found in soil.

Vole Anatomy and Characteristics

  • A vole has rounded ears
  • A vole's body and is reddish or brown and black in color with a gray underside.
  • Voles prefer to live in low-lying or creeping vegetation, and make trails through the grass or snow.  
  • Voles are primarily herbivores and will feed on the roots, bulbs, bark and seeds of many ornamental plants and grasses.

Shrew Anatomy and Characteristics

  • A shrew has a pointed snout
  • A shrew’s front feet are not enlarged.  
  • A shrew’s eyes are tiny, but visible in most species
  • Shrews have many habitats, depending on the species.  
  • Shrews will reuse the tunnels made by moles and voles, and will also occasionally invade buildings.
  • Shrews feed on insects, earthworms, slugs, small animals, seeds and roots.

Appearance of moles, voles and shrews

Moles, voles and shrews can easily be distinguished from one another by looking at some of the key physical characteristics of each.  A mole has a pointed snout, enlarged front feet, and eyes and ears so tiny that they are not visible.  A vole, also called a meadow mouse, has rounded ears and body and is reddish or brown and black in color with a gray underside.  And finally, a shrew has a pointed snout, but unlike the mole, a shrew’s front feet are not enlarged.  Also, a shrew’s eyes are tiny, but they are visible in most species.

Moles, voles and shrew behavior

In addition to different physical characteristics, moles, voles and shrews each live in different habitats and have distinct food preferences. These basic characteristics can help you determine voles vs. moles and voles and moles vs. shrews.

  • Moles live underground in tunnels, and are predatory in nature. Moles primarily feed on earthworms, grubs, beetles and other animals or arthropods found in the soil.  
  • Voles prefer to live in low-lying or creeping vegetation, and make trails through the grass or snow.  Unlike the predacious moles, voles are primarily herbivores and will feed on the roots, bulbs, bark and seeds of many ornamental plants and grasses.  
  • Shrews have many habitats, depending on the species.  Typically, near a structure, shrews will reuse the tunnels made by moles and voles, and will also occasionally invade buildings. Shrews feed on insects, earthworms, slugs, small animals, seeds and roots.

Voles vs mice

You may see a rodent around your property, but it can be hard to know exactly what kind of animal it is. What is the difference between voles vs mice? Here’s one way to tell: voles have short tails, but mice have longer tails (about their body length). Voles also look heavier than mice.

Additionally, voles tend to be active in open land whereas mice are thigmophilic, which means they like making contact with surfaces. A vole problem may present itself as runs in your grass, whereas mice are likely to stay in spots with more cover, like vegetation and next to a structure. Mice like locations with cover due to predator activity.

Meadow voles, which are found on the East Coast, tend to stay outdoors in winter but house mice seek out warmer places, such as your home or business. Also, voles mainly eat grass and plants but mice can eat grains, seeds and even dead animals. As for negative effects, mouse droppings may contaminate food and they can also carry disease. Voles can harm plants and your lawn.

To help keep voles from becoming a problem, mow your lawn and minimize vegetation that’s against the structure. Pick up vegetables or fruit that has fallen in your garden. If voles or mice have taken up residence at your property, it’s best to contact a pest control professional, like Ehrlich. We are well-versed in rodent control and will use an effective strategy to eliminate the voles or mice from your premises. Get in touch with us today.

Ehrlich mole, vole and shrew control specialists

Managing moles, voles and shrews can be challenging, so using an integrated pest management approach with tools such as trapping, baiting and habitat modification will give the best chance for success.  If you’re experiencing a problem in your yard or lawn with moles, voles or shrews, be sure to contact an Ehrlich pest control expert for assistance.


Locations


Contact


Call your local branch

1-800-837-5520

or fill out your details and we will call you back

Bill pay and login