What is the Difference Between Gophers and Moles?

While these ground-dwelling animals are often mistaken for one another, moles and gophers are actually not all that similar. Pocket gophers are the variety most closely related to moles, and even these two pests don’t particularly look alike. There are several major differences in appearance:

  • Teeth – Moles have very small teeth, while the teeth of a gopher protrude from its mouth.
  • Eyes – Gophers have readily visible eyes, but a mole’s eyes can barely be seen.
  • Snout – Moles have a long, tapering snout. Conversely, gophers have rounded faces and muzzles.

Identifying a Pest in the Yard

Since both animals spend most of their time underground, appearance might not be the best way to tell which is causing problems. Knowing the difference between gopher holes vs mole holes is quite helpful, and there are several key indicators:

  • Mole tunnels make obvious ridges in the surface of a lawn.
  • Piles of dirt left by moles, or molehills, are circular and have holes directly in the center.
  • Gopher burrows are hard to see aboveground.
  • Mounds created by gophers are shaped like crescents, hearts, or fans with holes on the side.

Diet is another way to identify which pest is living on the property. Gophers primarily consume vegetation like roots, tubers, and garden plants. On the other hand, moles mostly eat underground insects like grubs and worms.

Gopher vs Mole Damage

Due to their large appetites, gophers cause costly damage to plants in a relatively short amount of time. They may even disrupt underground water flow when burrowing.

Moles can be beneficial to gardens by eating undesirable insects and aerating the soil. However, visible tunnels are an eyesore and make ground uneven for mowing or walking. Since both pests cause damage, it’s best to consult the professionals at Trutech for identification and exclusion.