If your flowerbed and potatoes are being destroyed by voles and all the while you are also seeing plenty of tunnels and huge dirt piles at the entrance of the tunnel, moles are at work.
Knowing the differences between the two is necessary because that knowledge plays a role in baiting and destroying them.
When most people see either a mole or a vole at a glance, they may mistake them for a rat or a mouse. Interestingly, Voles belong to the phylum Chordata and are relatives to hamsters and lemmings but notably have a shorter hairy tail, stouter body, and a rounder head. The molars of the moles are differently formed and are distinctly high-crowned with angular cusps as opposed to those of hamsters and lemmings that are low-crowned with rounded cusps. In places like Australia, voles are often referred to as meadow mice.
Voles eat plants of all varieties and have the ability to burrow underground. Voles are a menace for your garden because they are pure vegetarians. They eat plant leaves and stems. They are also capable of damaging roots of shrubs and trees. Although they are burrowing rodents they do not produce huge mounds of soil.
Moles are animals capable of digging elaborate tunnels and do create sizeable piles of dirt on their entrances. Their body size can be compared to that of a rat. If you catch a good glimpse of a mole, it’s physical facial features can help identify it from Voles.
The moles face does not reveal its eyes and ears because they are covered by fur. This adaptation is very practical, if you spend most of your time in burrows and digging tunnels you would appreciate that feature too. It prevents dirt from getting into the moles eyes and ears when digging.
They also have a distinctly bigger and pointed nose. The front feet of a mole are noticeably bigger as they are the mole’s main digging tools. They also explain the moles ability to dig and clear soil hence the big pile of dirt on their tunnel entrance.
A moles preference of food will feature meats such as worms, adult insects and bugs. So they are carnivorous. They are not rodents because they do not eat vegetables. So when you walk into your garden and some pest is biting away at your plants, you can be sure it is not a mole.
Rodents such as Voles do take advantage of mole tunnels to reach your garden and wreak havoc. So in that sense, the mole does perhaps contribute to plant damage in that way. When getting rid of moles, the bait has to be meat based while when baiting voles, a plant based bait will work. This distinction between the two is key in eliminating either of them.