moles vs voles

Asked July 30, 2017, 3:29 PM EDT

Starting Friday, I have noticed dirt "cow pies" in my yard. It started with one, now I have several. The dirt "cow pies" are about 8" in diameter. The first one was near my front sidewalk. Three are bordering my front walkway (in my yard) and the additional ones are right up against my foundation. Can you tell what critter is doing this from my description? I would, of course, like to get them out of my yard but would prefer not to poison or kill them. I have a puppy who likes to smell all over the yard and I do not want to hurt her, "my" squirrels or the birds. After diagnosing the problem, I would also appreciate a recommendation for an exterminator to handle the problem! Or what are any problems or consequences of doing nothing? Thank you very much for your help. Patricia Nelson

Hennepin County Minnesota nuisance wildlife

2 Responses

Thank you for the question. You may have a mole or moles creating piles of soil as they tunnel in search of insects, grubs, and worms which is a good thing. Irrigated lawns may be preferred tunneling grounds for moles because the soil is soft and it's prey plentiful. You don't have to do anything because moles have huge appetites and when they have consumed the food in your yard, they will move on. For now, just spread the dirt piles around with a lawn rake so your grass doesn't suffocate and if you see any tunnels, walk on them to pack them back down again. There are other methods such as trapping and poisoning or trying to exclude them from your lawn with fencing dug well down into the soil. Be very careful with traps and poisons because of your other wildlife and dog. Read more here:

Thank you for contacting Extension.

Thanks so much, Anita. I was thinking doing nothing might be a good tact. Sure appreciate your help. Pat Nelson