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Difference Between Mole and Vole

Difference Between Mole and Vole


Both moles and voles are garden pests that destroy many homewoners’ gardens and lawns. However, some owners find it hard to tell the difference between a mole and a vole.

The first distinction between moles and voles is that moles are mammals; moles belong to the family, Talpidae, while voles are rodents and belong to the family, Cricetidae. Their respective diets are also different­­—moles are carnivores (meateaters) and will eat worms, ants, grubs, beetles, and insects while voles are herbivores, which means they eat plants from above the ground. As herbivores, they cause most of the plant damage in gardens or lawns.

A mole is much larger than a vole. A mole can measure up to 5–8″ long with a long and pointed snout, very small eyes, no external ears, muscular forelegs, and heavily clawed feet. A mole’s coloring varies from dark gray to black. On the other hand, voles are measured up to 3–5″ long with a stock build, blunt nose, small eyes, short tail, small ears and sharp, visible front teeth. Its color is either gray or brown.

The mole is active all year long while the vole prefers to do most of its foraging in winter when the snow covers its tracks.

The mole digs 2 types of tunnels: a surface-feeding tunnel and deeper connecting tunnels. The vole only digs surface tunnel, but digs many more of them than moles do.

Moles are solitary creatures and don’t interact with each other unless they need to breed. Voles can reach a high population because they reproduce rapidly and live close together in colonies (ranging up to 300 members). Also, moles only reproduce once a year with 3–4 offspring, a much lower birth rate than voles.

Difference Between Mole and Vole-1


Voles also spend most of their time above the ground while moles often like the soil’s dark underground.

When moles and tunnels, the soil is loosened, which exposes the surrounding plants to diseases, leading to damage in gardens and lawns. Voles eat the plants that grow in the ground itself, which causes a lack of and damage to vegetation.


  1. A mole is classified as a mammal (a member of the family Talpidae), while a vole is categorized as a rodent (from the family Cricetidae).
  2. The diet of a mole is different form a vole. A mole is a carnivore that eats worms, insects, ants, and other animals. Voles are herbivores that eat the plants on the ground.
  3. The mole is also physically larger than the vole. A typical measure of a mole is 5–8″ long while the vole is only 3–5″ long. They also differ in their other physical characteristics. The mole’s color is usually black while the vole has gray or brown. Moles also sport large claws and muscular forelegs for digging and voles are unmistakable for their large, visible teeth. The only similar thing about their appearance is their small eyes.
  4. The mole is on the go for 365 days a year, but the vole is more active during winter.
  5. Moles have 2 types of tunnels and the vole only has one kind.
  6. Moles are typical lone creatures and voles are more social. Moles only interact for breeding purposes while voles interact with each other for various reasons.

The population density between the two species is also comparatively different. Moles have a smaller population because they only produce a limited number of offspring in a particular part of the year. Another factor is the mole’s solitary lifestyle. On the other hand, voles are more numerous because they can reproduce anytime and interact more with their future mates.

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  1. I have caught a vole in a trap and most of the animal was eaten away. I used leftovers for bait and caught 2 more voles in the same place with the same trap. I guess somebody didn’t tell the Illinois Voles they were vegetarians.

  2. Just a clarification – the first paragraph implies that rodents are not mammals. Rodents are in fact an Order (Rodentia) within larger Class Mammalia.

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