Pest Resources

Gopher Hole Vs. Mole Hole

Are you worried about the mounds of dirt in your grass? Seeing such mounds in your grass is a highly unpleasant sight. Both gophers and moles cause damage to your yard.

They could be either Mole mounds or Gopher mounds, but which one? But before you do anything to eliminate them, you must first identify which animal is wrecking your lawn.

They can differ in many ways. One of the main differences is the kinds of rodent holes they make. A gopher’s hole is different from a mole hole.

Moles and Gophers are tough to spot, as they spend most of their time underground. You do not need to wait for these rodents to come out to differentiate between them, as you can do it by looking at their holes.

We have listed the basic differences between the two species below, which will help you identify them.

What Are The Differences Between A Gopher And A Mole?

While a gopher and a mole may look the same to you at first glance, they are quite different from each other. 

Identifying these differences is important if you want to know whether there is a gopher or a mole in the yard. Once you know which it is, you can get rid of them.

Comparing moles and gophers

Only gophers belong to the Rodentia family, along with ground squirrels, with moles belonging to the Talpinae subfamily, which includes common shrews.

Gophers are solitary animals, as are moles, and both cause damage due to their feeding habits.

Diet: Gophers love eating cultivated and wild plants, plant roots, and vegetables. If gophers are present in your yard, you might see wilting and dead plants. Gopher tunnels can disturb the grass and the roots of your plant. This is why it is essential to get rid of them.

Diet: The European Mole eats bugs and worms that fall through loose soil into the tunnel system and damage plants with their tunneling activity. Voles will use mole tunnels to reach plant roots and bulbs.

Difference in Appearance

The Pocket Gopher


Pocket Gopher

Image credit: USFWS – Pacific Region

Gophers and moles might look the same to you at first glance; these two rodents are actually quite different from each other. 

Gophers are four to twelve inches. The most common type of gopher that you will find is the pocket gopher. So, if you have a gopher infestation in your yard, chances are that’s your culprit.

Pocket gophers are true gophers and can grow as long as twelve inches. The smallest pocket gopher that you will find will be five inches. 

Gophers have large cheek pouches and the ability to close their lips beneath their large incisor teeth. This allows them to burrow in the soil without getting any dirt in their mouth, and how they make mounds in your garden. 

The Mole


Picture of a mole coming to ground

 moles are smaller than gophers. Moles belong to the shrew family. An average mole can grow up to eight inches long; moles weigh two to four ounces.

Moles have pointed snouts and are hairless with small eyes and ear canals. They use their sharp claws to move dirt surrounding them and even sand dunes.

The snout is the best way to distinguish between the two rodents. While gophers use their sharp teeth to burrow into the ground, moles use their paws.

Difference In Moles / Gophers Holes

Gopher holes vs. mole holes: Gophers live in burrows. They build an extensive tunnel system and push dirt out to construct underground burrows where they hide away. The burrow of gopher warrens includes the main tunnel that is positioned below the surface. 

This tunnel connects the lateral burrows and is usually 4 to 18 inches below the surface. The lateral burrows end with soil plugs. This is why you find mounds of dirt on the grass.

Gopher mounds are up to twenty inches in diameter and horseshoe-shaped or crescent-shaped mounds. You will find a gopher mound more during the spring and summer when these gophers are more active. Most rodent holes offer safety and shelter.

Moles create cone-shaped mounds and create raised ridges. The diameter of the holes is about two inches on the surface. The mole mounds are also known as molehills by many because of their cone-like shape.

Moles dig mole tunnels allowing insects and worms to fall in to eat. The mole’s territory can be up to two acres.

Most moles prefer to burrow where the soil is coarse. Unlike gophers, moles will not create numerous mole mounds. Instead, they build ridges that are raised. These raised ridges are also known as surface tunnels. The mole tunnels the moles create are 16 to 18 inches deep.

What Damage is Caused By Gophers vs. Moles?

If you have a gopher or moles in your yard, they may damage your property. The extensive burrow systems can destroy underground utility cables. You must get rid of them quickly. Gophers can build more than two-hundred mounds in your yard in one year.

How To Get Rid Of The Gophers And Moles

Getting rid of moles and gophers becomes extremely important because of the damage caused by them. If you want to know how to eliminate them, we have suggested some ways.

Get Rid Of Them With Barriers

The most common way to keep the gophers and moles out of your yard is by building a barrier in your yard. But, creating a barrier is not an easy task. There are many difficulties involved with this method. You need to be careful about the depth of the barrier.

It should be deep so that gophers and moles cannot go beneath it and create holes. A barrier that is only deep is not enough. It should also be tall so that the moles and gophers cannot climb over it.

Get Rid Of Pocket gophers and Moles With Natural Predators

If you have a mole or a gopher infestation, you can try to get rid of them with natural predators. Snakes, cats, and owls are the natural predators of these rodents. A cat will chase away moles and gophers in your yard.

You might need to encourage owls into the yard. The owl will feed on moles and gophers from your yard.

Get Rid Of Them By Hiring A Pest Control Company

These above remedies might not work because gophers and moles can be extremely tricky to catch. If these rodents are still not leaving your yard, then hiring an exterminator is the only option left to you. 

They will deal with these rodents professionally and efficiently, and you will get the ownership of your yard back.


If there is a gopher activity or a mole infestation in your garden, you need to differentiate between them first in order to get rid of them.

As these rodents are rarely visible and stay underground, differentiating by looking at their holes is one of the best options available to you. We discussed gopher hole vs. mole hole hope it was helpful.

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. Each pest resource we list on our website goes through an in-depth fact checking process.

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