Pande-MOLE-ium!? Subterranean critters invade city to gorge on frisky worms
- Credit: Archant
Moles are raiding the city as unseasonably wet summer weather encouraged earthworms to reproduce like never before.
According to Norfolk's self-styled Lady Mole Catcher, Louise Chapman, it's been 10 years since she saw this many of the cheeky subterranean mammals popping up on people's lawns.
And the reason behind the surge in numbers is simple.
She explained: "Usually Norfolk is dry from May to July. But this year it rained constantly, which meant there was an abundance of earthworms — and an abundance of the moles that feed on them.
"Normally they breed in spring.
"They have a gestation period of 28 days, and leave the nest after seven weeks. So all the moles we're seeing in September and October are the ones conceived in the unusually wet summer months.
"We are expecting a bumper autumn for moles. I'm absolutely rammed with requests to catch them.
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"It's those mud hills they make in your garden when they're digging tunnels for worms - they really grate on people.
"The other day I caught 17 in two days in one client's garden."
Kyle Shadlock, who lives in the village of Horsford, on the outskirts of the city, has been locked in a battle of wills with one mole for TWO YEARS.
The 28-year-old moved into his house just before the first lockdown and was greeted by the silky critter last summer.
But it came back again for a second round in 2021.
He used mole repellent, which he claims worked overnight to drive the pesky creature away from his grass — though Ms Chapman stressed that these solutions are only ever short-term.
Mr Shadlock added: "Our garden backs on to a field, so I reckon it came from there.
"I've heard of my neighbours spotting them too, but it's nothing too terrible.
"Each year we get the odd ones tearing up the garden and we manage to move them along. I don't want them to die just because they're on my grass."
What to do if you see a mole in your garden
According to Ms Chapman, and fellow pest-controller Vic Hannant from Ace Mole Catching, the most humane way to dispose of a mole IS by killing them - as sad as that may seem.
Both suggest calling a professional as your first port of call if you spot one and want rid of it for good.
But if you're going to go after them yourself only use a spring trap which catches and kills the mole instantly.
Using a tunnel which traps the mole for hours starves it to death and causes unnecessary suffering which is illegal.
Mr Hannant explained: "Those tunnels for moles are the equivalents of a human coffin. It distresses them beyond belief, especially if you don't check the trap for days on end."
And Ms Chapman added: "Mole catching is a fine art. You can't learn it from watching a quick YouTube video."