Spring is just around the corner here in Green Country.  With blossoms and rain storms comes two other friends to Oklahoma lawns:  the mole and the pocket gopher.  Brought to fame by movies such as Caddy Shack, these critters are the enemy of every landscaper and golf course.  So if you’ve seen some strange things in your back yard, you may be asking gopher vs mole, what’s the difference?  In these two different species of rodent, the biggest difference is diet.  Moles eat insects, while gophers eat plants.  

Other differences abound as well.  The size of the animals, shape of their mounds, and how to get rid of them.  And on the internet, all sort of fallacies abound.  Many natural remedies are particularly useless against these pests.  Electronic gizmos and essential oils are really ineffective against these rodents.  In order to figure out what to do, its important to understand all of the differences.  


Mounds are the biggest visible sign of mole and gopher activity.  To understand their difference, you must understand the difference of how they move through the soil.  Moles effectively use a swimming motion to move through the soil.  This means that they predominately use their shoulders and front paws to pull themselves through the soil.  As they excavate, they must remove this soil, so they burrow to the surface and push the soil through the center of the mound, causing the mound to be circular.  This also leaves ridges as they are tunneling near the surface

Pocket gophers are a larger animal.  Because of this, they must build a larger tunnel and therefore mound more often.  When they mound, they push the earth up in lateral burrows at right angles to their main underground tunnels. This creates fan shaped mounds.  These tunnels are deeper than moles, so it is common to only see mounds when a pocket gopher is found.  


Pocket gophers are a medium sized rodent with fur lined pockets in its cheeks used to store food.  They weigh about a pound, are 10-12 inches in length and vary in color.  In the front of their mouth are four large incisor teeth that are always exposed.  They have short necks and strong forefeet with long claws used for digging. These pests have small eyes and ears, whiskers and sparsely-haired tails to help them navigate through their tunnels.  

Moles are much smaller and actually belong to the shrew family.  Moles are only about 6-8 inches long with paddle like fore feet and long claws.  They have pointed snouts, no external ears, and very tiny eyes.  They have soft fur that varies in color from brown to grey with silver streaks.  


Moles are carnivorous.  They burrow close to the surface in order to find grubs and worms to feed on.  Even though they leave unsightly runs and mounds on the surface of our lawns, they are actually very good for plant growth.  They naturally aerate  the soil and remove insects that would feed on many plants.  Moles need to eat 25 to 100 percent of their weight each day.   Treating the ground with pesticides to remove grubs and worms will deter them from hunting in your back yard.  

Pocket gophers are vegetarians.  They seem to favor roots and bulbs.  These pests are known for pulling whole plants under the surface of the ground.  They use the pockets in their cheeks to carry their food stuff back to a compartment in their burrow to eat later.  Both moles and pocket gophers are active year round.  

If you are asking the question gopher vs mole, what’s the difference?, then you may have an issue with one of these two pests in your yard.  You’ll need a good exterminator to help.  Feel free to Contact Us at TermMax Pest Control to help you out!

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