Here at Beagle we are always amazed at how much the weather affects mole activity in our customers gardens. Changes in the weather are in fact critical for moles, as conditions above the earth’s surface can have profound effects on those below.
Flooding is the greatest hazard, and these underground mammals have evolved the instinct to head for higher ground whenever their tunnel network is threatened, sometimes deserting low-lying areas en masse.
Weather lore expert Thomas Willsford, writing in the 17th century, was one of the first people to record this phenomenon: “When on a sudden they do forsake the valleys and low grounds, it foreshows a flood near at hand.”
Moles can help us forecast the weather in other ways, too. It is said that if, during a frosty spell, you observe a mole throwing up fresh earth, then there will be a thaw in the next 48 hours. But if a mole is seen throwing up more earth than usual, rain is on its way – presumably moles dig deeper when they think they might be vulnerable to wet weather. Drought, on the other hand, makes it harder for them to burrow, although not even the hardest earth presents an insuperable barrier to these determined creatures.
Finally, moles are supposed to have long-term forecasting ability. The Victorian periodical the Gardeners’ Chronicle reported that moles make a cache of worms to see them through the winter, keeping them in a basin in a bed of clay.