American Animal Control
American Animal Control

Gopher, Vole, and Mole Control Experts
General Mole Biology
Moles are from the family Talpidae which includes moles, desmans, and shrew-moles. The North American moles or New World moles are divided into the Subfamily Talpinae and of this group there are six moles on the continent, seven if you count the shrew-mole. All are insectivores and related on this continent only to the shrew. Parascalops breweri - Scapanus latimus - Scapanus orarius - Scapanus townsendi Scalopus aquaticus - Condylura cristata.

All moles can be damaging but Scalopus aquaticus or Eastern mole is by far the most widespread of the six. It is better described as the common or grey mole. It is the strongest of the group and is most often associated with tunnels and or mole mounds by residential homeowners. The Eastern can be found from the Atlantic to the foothills of the Rockies and from Southern Canada to the panhandle of Florida. Moles are covered by a soft grey pelage that is hinged to allow it to move in any direction. Variegation in color is common with patches of orange or white on some moles. Moles are about the size of chipmunks and can weigh anywhere from three to six ounces. Total length can be six to eight inches. Moles have one litter each year. Litter size can be two to six depending on the health of the female. Latitude seems to play a large part in the timing of male rut and litter deliveries. In Cincinnati I can expect males to rut from about the last week in February through the first week in April. Gestation lasts about five to six weeks which means I can expect litters anywhere from mid April through May. Moles are mammal and nurse the young moles for several weeks. I look for young moles to disperse (newborn expanding off the mother's tunnel system or moving above ground to create or find new tunnels for their own use) from late April through mid June. I imagine this timing can be tempered by unseasonable extremes in temperature or ground moisture. The final dispersal can last through late fall and early winter. Since moles don't hibernate (they store neither food nor fat) final dispersal can result in severe lawn damage until the lawn surface freezes in winter. Newborn females will mate the following spring and the cycle begins anew.

General Gopher Biology
Gophers are well-suited for life underground. They have small eyes, small
external ears, powerful forequarters, and long claws on their forefeet. The tail is
short in relation to the body, and is sparsely haired. Gophers have large paired
incisor teeth. The upper incisors of plains pocket gophers have distinct grooves
on the outer surface. Their lips actually close behind the incisors, so they can use
their teeth for digging without getting soil in their mouth.
Gophers usually live alone. During most of the year, only one adult occupies a
burrow system. The exception is during the breeding season (late winter to
spring). A single litter of usually 3 or 4 young is born between March and May.
Young leave their mother's burrow system in summer and may travel above ground for a time before digging their own burrow. Plains pocket gopherscommonly reach densities of 4 to 6 animals per acre.
For northern pocket gophers, 16 to 20 per acre is
common.
Gophers feed on roots, stems, and leaves. They prefer forbs over grasses, but
they will eat both. Some preferred forbs include alfalfa, dandelion, and prickly
pear cactus. They generally will move out of fields that are tilled annually
because such places lack sufficient food.
Gophers are prey to predators, including hawks, owls, snakes, coyotes, weasels,
and badgers. Young animals are particularly susceptible to predation when
dispersing above ground to new locations.
General Vole Biology
Meadow voles, also called meadow mice or field mice are small rodents with stocky bodies, short legs, and short tails. Their eyes are small and their ears partly hidden. Voles are active during the day and night, year-round. They construct shallow burrow systems with numerous entrances.Under optimal conditions voles may breed throughout the year, but the breeding period is most commonly in spring and summer. In the field, they generally have up to 5 litters per year, but laboratory studies have shown that they are capable of producing up to 17 litters per year. Litter size may be as high as 11, but the average is usually 3 to 6. The gestation period is about 21 days, young are weaned by the time they are 21 days old, and females mature in about 35 to 40 days.These reproductive characteristics enable vole populations to increase in size in a relatively short time, given favorable conditions. Consequently, large population fluctuations are characteristic of voles. Population levels generally peak every 2 to 5 years; however, these cycles are not predictable.