Difference Between a Mole and Gopher?

If you spend time outdoors you are likely going to come across some soft spots in a yard that look like tunnels. Does this mean that you have a mole or gopher in your yard?

Surprisingly many people can get confused by this. Why? We shall call it, because of “Caddyshack“.

We love the movie “Caddyshack” it is a staple for most golfers out there. But it helped to mess up what people generally know about moles and gophers. So what do you need to know about both of these little pests to properly identify and prevent?

Moles

Moles are insectivores and eat insects, mostly¬†earthworms. Mole’s have been known to eat nuts when needed, but the preferred meal of worms and small underground insects. Mole rarely shows itself above ground. If they do it is probably a mistake on their part. Moles have tunnels more towards the top side of the earth, so their tunnels are easily seen. Sometimes if you pay attention to the ground you can see the soil moving where they are currently digging. Rarely do moles make mounds, though they may dig a larger tunnel in spots as they root around for food sources. This can be confused for being a ‘mound’ in the same fashion that a gopher creates a mound.

Moles - Gophers - Johnson Pest Control

Scene from Caddyshack, Orion Pictures, 1980 used for reference purposes

Gophers

Gophers are herbivores and will eat plant roots. Do you remember the scene where the gopher in “Caddyshack” was eating the flowers in the garden? That is a bit dramatic, but eating your flowers from underneath would be what a gopher would do. Gophers are generally solitary creatures, though some of the ground squirrels in their species do create communities. If you notice the signs of a gopher in your yard chances are you only dealing with one, maybe two, rodent/s.

Gophers dig their tunnels much deeper than moles. You are unlikely going to notice them. Gophers rarely are seen above ground. You will, however, notice random mounds of dirt (often in a kidney or fan shape) pop up in a yard. This would be a sign of a gopher.

In “Caddyshack” the feared gopher that was wreaking havoc on the golf course was often seen tunneling through the fairways and greens and popping his head out. That type of behavior is just not accurate for a gopher.

If you see the tunnels in your yard then you likely have a mole or moles. If you just see the mounds then you have a gopher or two. Knowing what you have in your yard will dictate how you want to treat for the pest. Both animals you can order tunnel/mound traps online that will help to kill off the pests. However, if your yard has an abundant food source they are looking for then you may be looking at a constant battle with this underground pests.

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