How to Set a Mole Trap

Updated February 21, 2017

Moles are burrowing animals that prefer to stay underground and rarely come to the surface. They build a complex network of underground tunnels and chambers and cannot see well in sunlight. Their tunnelling activities leave ridges and mounds all over lawns, and they can do damage to plants and grass by eating the roots. If you have a mole in your lawn or pasture, take a couple of easy steps to trap it. Even though moles are wild animals and pests, it's humane to trap them alive and release them elsewhere to continue their lives.

Find the tunnels used by the moles. Crush all the molehills you see; if the tunnels are repaired afterward, those are the active tunnels.

Dig carefully into any active tunnels, causing as little damage as possible. Damaged tunnels will scare the moles into digging new ones rather than using the old ones.

Dig a hole in the bottom of each active tunnel. The hole should be large enough to accommodate your large coffee can or jar.

Cover the hole at the surface with a piece of cardboard or plywood. For the trap to work, you must keep light out of the tunnel.

Check the trap every couple of days. If it's a catch-and-release trap, when you've caught a mole, you should screw on the lid of the jar or can to keep the mole inside. Then drive the mole outside of town and release it.


Moles eat Japanese beetles and their larvae. Eliminate any beetles you see on your property to eliminate a mole's favourite food source. Buy commercial mole traps if you want to kill the moles rather than do catch-and-release. Combine trapping with mole barriers to keep future moles away.


Mole poisons don't usually work. Always use traps. Moles can carry diseases like rabies. Handle them with caution. To keep moles away, flood the tunnels with water. Build a mole barrier around your property by digging a trench two feet deep and filling it with gravel or using chain link fence. This will discourage future mole activity in your yard, garden, or pasture.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Large jars/coffee cans
  • Plywood/cardboard
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author