Can Moles Sound Like Mice in Your Walls?
Although people sometimes mistake moles for mice and vice versa, they are very different animals. While mice are rodents, moles are not. A mouse's four feet are of similar shape and size. In contrast, moles have large, paddle-shaped front feet that allow them to dig and smaller back feet. Moles also do not live in human dwellings like mice do.
Various types of mice live in different habitats. For example, meadow mice live in grassy areas and house mice live in human dwellings. House mice can live behind the walls, coming out only at night when you are asleep. They usually travel within 10 to 25 feet of their nests. Mice have easy access to food sources in human dwellings because they like a variety of the food found there, including seeds, grains, nuts, bacon, butter and candy.
It is unlikely that moles would venture inside a house and take up residence in the walls. Moles spend most of their lives underground and seldom go above ground. When they are underground they stay in their tunnels, which have travel paths and nest chambers. They use deep tunnels regularly and use the tunnels nearest the ground surface only to look for food. Their diet consists mainly of insects and grubs, which are plentiful underground.
Although you may not see house mice with your own eyes, there will be signs of an infestation around the house. They leave droppings near their nest and make various noises, such as running, gnawing or squeaking sounds. Mice also make ultrasonic songs that resemble those sung by immature birds. According to Washington University in St. Louis, these sounds qualify as songs because they consist of different types of sounds and follow certain tempos.
Because moles rarely go above the ground, you may never hear their sounds, which include grunting and digging noises. According to Vanderbilt University, professional worm grunters take advantage of mole sounds to collect worms. Worm grunters mimic mole sounds by pushing a wooden stick halfway into the soil and rubbing a piece of steel against the top of it. Worms that hear these sounds think a mole is coming and escape to the surface, where the worm grunters are waiting. Worm grunting can effectively draw hundreds of worms to the surface.
- Cornell University Cooperative Extension: Shrews, Meadow Mice and Moles
- University of Kentucky; Control of Mice; Michael F. Potter
- Washington University in St. Louis; Researchers Add Mice to List of Creatures that Sing in the Presence of Mates; Michael Purdy; October 2005
- Vanderbilt University; Worm Grunting on NPR; David Salisbury; March 2011