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Difference Between Mole and Vole

Mole vs Vole

Both moles and voles are garden pests that destroy gardens and lawns of many homeowners. However, some owners find it hard to identify which is a mole and which is a vole.

The first distinction between moles and voles is that moles are mammals; they belong to the familyTalpidae while the voles are rodents who 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 above the ground. As herbivores, they cause most of the plant damage in the garden or lawn.

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 damage in winter when the snow covers its tracks. The mole digs two types of tunnels: a surface feeding tunnel and deeper connecting tunnels while the vole only digs surface tunnels with a larger number compared to a mole’s.

Moles are solitary creatures and don’t interact with each other unless they need to breed while the voles can reach a high population because they reproduce rapidly, live close together as colonies ranging up to 300 members. Also, moles only reproduce once a year and produce three to four offspring, a lower comparison to the birth rate of voles.

Voles are creatures that spend most of their time above the ground while moles often like the soil’s dark underground. The damage caused by moles leads to many holes and tunnels lead to loosening of the soil and exposing the plants to disease while voles eat the plants which grow in the ground itself which causes a lack of and damage to vegetation.


1.A mole is classified as a mammal (as a member of family Talpidae) while a vole is categorized as a rodent (from the family Cricetidae).
2.The diet of a mole is different from a vole. A mole is a carnivore that eats worms, insects, ants, and other animals while voles are herbivores that eat the plants on the ground.
3.The mole is also physically larger than the vole. A typical measurement of a mole is 5 – 8″ long while the vole is only 3 – 5″ long. Other physical characteristics also convey the differences. The mole’s color is usually black while the vole has gray or brown. Moles also sport large claws and muscular forelegs for digging while voles are unmistakable for their large, visible teeth. The only similarity about their appearance is their small eyes.
4.The mole is on the go for 365 days a year while the vole is more particularly active during winter.
5.Moles have two types of tunnels while the vole only has one kind.
6.Moles are typical lone creatures while voles are more social. Moles only interact for breeding purposes while voles have interactions for various reasons.
7.The population between the two species is also comparatively different. Moles have a smaller population because it only produces 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 since they can reproduce anytime and interact more with future mates.

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1 Comment

  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.

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