Friday, September 16, 2011

Une taupe géante

Moles have become the bane of my existence here in rural France. When we first moved here there were no moles in our yard. But after a couple of years they moved in. They especially like the area around the vegetable garden since it's watered during dry weather. The watering attracts the things moles like to eat: grubs and worms.

A sculpture of a giant mole emerging from the garden at the Hôtel de Sully in Paris.

Not satisfied with the meals I'm unintentionally preparing for them, the moles have branched out into other areas of the yard. They don't do any real damage since they don't eat plants, but they raise hills of dirt all over the yard. Every time I want to cut the grass, I have to go out and remove the mole hills with my shovel and wheelbarrow. I use the dirt I collect for the garden or other areas of the property where we need a little clean fill.

A bad photo of a dead mole, Bertie's latest capture. It was about 6" long, nose to tail.

The moles aerate the ground, and that's good. But moving mole hills every couple of weeks really gets old. My lawn, such as it is, is pock-marked with round bare spots where the hills stood. And in the sections of the yard where the moles are particularly active, their tunnels make the ground very spongy.

I have learned to live with the moles. But now we have Bertie. I'm hoping he takes a liking to moles. He's brought us two so far. The first was still alive and I had to kill it so it would not escape back into the yard. The second, brought to us just this week, was dead. But Bert didn't eat it; he just left it for me. I really praised him for getting a mole and encouraged him to get more.

I can only hope he understands.


  1. We had an Irish Wolfhound that use to aerate the backyard soil. Didn't bother with a shovel, had a grader for the job.

  2. I hope Bertie gets the idea, too! Does he bring it to you or leave it for you to find?


  3. I think that's common cat behaviour. Our cat always used to lay her night's kill on the back steps for everyone to admire. She mainly hunted mice and squirrels, but sometimes caught a baby rabbit or mink.

  4. Moles digging up the lawn is such an alien concept to us downunder.

  5. Ah, the presents our pets bring to us. When I was a kid I lived in fairly wooded area, and each morning I'd leave for the bus stop to find that our dog Cindy had brought us a squirrel, or a deer leg, or a deer head, or some other animals. She once found a nest of baby shrews...though she didn't bring it to us, she brought us to them.

  6. Go, Bertie! I've heard milky spore will kill the grubs and then the moles will leave, but Bertie is better. I hope he brings his friends!

  7. Do the French have a recipe for braised mole?

  8. WV is "toyd" what Bertie is doing to the moles. I hope he becomes skilled at mole-catching.

  9. leon, ouch!

    bettyann, he brings his prey into the garage and presents them on a doormat.

    buddybear, bertie got a juvenile rabbit once, and a sloat (weasel). It amazes me!

    andrew, as kangaroos hopping across the lawn and dingos taking babies are to us up here. ;)

    writer, deer legs? Wow!

    kristi, I've more or less accepted the moles' presence. I don't want to mess with the ecosystem anymore than I already do.

    chris, jeez, I hope not.

    evelyn, so do I!

    starman, Maybe they'll get the message and move somewhere else?

  10. odd looking critters, to be sure.


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