Working out how to trap voles and moles alive is not too difficult if you follow some simple rules. It can be an effective low-cost method to protect your plants and lawns from these animals. But it will require quite some ongoing effort … and may not always work perfectly.
How to trap voles alive – how does this method work?
Special traps (as the one shown on the picture to the left) are designed to catch voles and moles alive. The devices are placed either next to vole or mole holes … or directly buried into their burrow systems.
Usually, a bait is placed inside the opened trap. When the animal comes to eat the bat, the trap closes capturing it inside alive without harming it.
The rodent can then be carried inside the closed trap … in order to release it back into freedom in a different location. (We suggest to go away at least 2 miles (3 km) to avoid it coming back.)
Some people kill the animal by drowning or other means. (Whilst this does kill the rodent … it is still more friendly to the environment and safer to people and pets than other methods.)
How effective is this method short and long term?
If you have figured out how to trap voles well, this can be quite an effective method. However … unlike with some other methods … there is no definite guarantee and lot will depend on the circumstances.
The biggest factor is the nature of the landscape and the number of voles or moles in the wider area: If the area you are trying to project is in a residential area with limited vegetation and farm land your chances are best. If however, there are fields and open green areas you will end up not just catching your own voles, but also those around you … and those can be very, very many. (One reader mentioned he had caught over 300 voles per year!). Unless of course you find a special method of how to trap voles in your own yard only … in which case we would love to hear from you
If you do give this method a try, it is important to do it thoroughly:
- Follow the instructions to properly learn how to trap voles – although this isn’t rocket science at all, you are likely to fail if you skip/cheat some of the steps.
- Follow through rigorously for a few weeks, i.e. check the traps daily.
- Continue the effort (checking weekly) even after the voles seem to all be gone … as they can come back uninvitedly.
Is this method expensive?
No. In most cases you only need 2-3 traps which can be reused for many years.
How much effort does this method involve?
Learning how to trap voles and moles without killing them is not too difficult … if you carefully follow the instructions on this webpage and the trap manufacturer.
The biggest part of the effort comes from the ongoing need to set up the trap(s) and remove the animals. (Keeping the animals alive and bringing them to another location can increase the effort further.) Hence the total amount of work you will have to spend on this will largely depend on the number of voles and moles you have. In many cases you will have a lot of voles in the beginning … and once the population decreases … there are fewer animals to catch. Nonetheless, you will need to keep the traps set up even once the rodents are gone … as they can quickly come back.
Environmental, animal and safety matters
If you don’t kill the voles you trapped, this is a method that is very friendly to the animals and the environments.
Even though relatively rare, voles and moles can transfer harmful diseases to humans. So wear gloves and avoid touching them wherever you can. If you do touch them …wash your hands with soap immediately.
Traps to catch voles and moles alive are generally no issue for kids or pets as they usually need to be covered/buried. Nonetheless follow the manufacturer’s precautions closely to avoid any risk.
Summary of pro’s and con’s
- Easy to learn how to trap voles and moles alive
- Low-cost method as traps are relatively cheap and can be reused
- Friendly to animals and the environment (depending on what you do with the trapped animals afterwards)
- Works less well in areas surrounded by farmland
- Relatively high ongoing effort
For a complete overview over all 18 vole and mole control methods … see our page: “18 methods for getting rid of voles and moles”