Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We Have a Mole Hole

Mole hole in my driveway, December 2011.
I'd never thought much about the difference between moles and gophers until a barely subterranean trail appeared in our driveway and I started to wonder what kind of varmint had made the mysterious dirt trail.  I've heard my father complain about gophers getting at his garden from time to time.  I know they're herbivores and that they'll eat anything in sight.  And then there's the inevitable Caddyshack reference.  But I'd never given moles a second thought.  

We first noticed the trail a few days before the giant winds hit Los Angeles and in the wake of our 18 hours without electricity, the mole hole was far from the front of my mind.  That is, until we started talking to our neighbors while checking out the 30 foot long tree branch that blocked half the road in front of our house.  When our neighbor saw our driveway, he said, "Ah-HA!  I see our mole came to visit you."  He said this in a somewhat delighted tone and it took me a beat to decide if his pleasure was that of a man happy to see his friend the mole or happy to see that a pest had fled his yard for the neighbors' yard.  I made a disgruntled face (not quite knowing why I made it) and he quickly assured me that the mole was our friend.  He said the mole would eat unwanted insects and that we were lucky to have him around.  I think he was trying to make sure we didn't do anything unkind to his mole friend.  

Once I figured out that we had a mole, I did a little research and discovered that moles eat mostly worms and that in spite of my neighbor's kind words for our mole, most people are NOT fans of the mole.  They are considered a pest by most "mole vs. gopher" websites and it seems that most people want to get rid of them.  Moles burrow shallow trenches in grass and "ruin" the lawn.  Luckily for our mole, we don't really care about our lawn.  If he went after our garden, we might have to reconsider.  But for now, we say "live and let live".