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Castle Gardeners resort to Menthol oil to deter Moles

BBC - MolesMenthol oil is being tried to deter moles from destroying lawns at a castle's walled garden. 

Gardener Phil Makin came up with the idea of using the scent to dissuade moles from burrowing under the walled garden at Gwynedd's Penrhyn Castle.

String soaked with the oil is lowered into tunnels dug by moles at the National Trust property and has led to a slight decrease in new molehills.  The RSPCA says noise as well as smell could deter moles.

Phil Makin, who got the idea to try menthol oil, said it was unclear whether the oil had worked or if the moles had moved on naturally.  But he said since the oil method was introduced the number of new molehills has gone down to two a day.

Penrhyn Castle's Head Gardener, Mike Anderson, said he admired the animals despite their garden-wrecking habits because the castle is built on shale and rock.

Mole facts

One mole can create 50 molehills in a single night

Moles feed mainly on earthworms, but they also eat a variety of other invertebrates, as well as snakes and lizards

One mole can dig up to 20 metres of tunnel per day

Moles are active by day and by night, almost continuously digging their tunnels and searching for food. They are active for about four hours at a time and then rest for a similar length of time. A mole will die of starvation if it does not eat every few hours.

It finds food by running along its tunnels and eating up any earthworms, beetle larvae, slugs etc, which have fallen from the walls. A mole probably eats at least half its own body weight a day. When earthworms are plentiful, during autumn and winter, the mole makes stores of them, biting off their heads and pushing them into the ground for eating later.

When tunnelling, a mole uses one front foot to push soil upwards into a molehill while it braces the other, and the hind feet, firmly against the tunnel walls. The long claws on the front feet help it to dig.

A mole can run backwards through tunnels and turn right round by doing a somersault! Its velvety fur lies backwards or forwards so that it does not become stuck against the tunnel walls when squeezing through them.

Read more on The BBC Web Site

Got a mole problem?  Visit The Mole Catcher 

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