You have a few options open to you when you have moles in your backyard and need to get rid of them. Kill traps are the most commonly used method, but this doesn't give you an outcome where the mole survives. If you are looking for this outcome, you will want to use live cage traps, but these often have many disadvantages attached.
Firstly, moles live underground. Trying to capture a mole in a live cage trap will be hard work, especially if you don't know where the tunnels are, whether or not they're used, and what direction they are heading in. In reality, your mole could hundreds of feet worth of tunnels under the ground, many of which you will have no clue about. Those tunnels that you can see in your lawn aren't the main tunnels used by the animal, but are instead small temporary roads that allow the mole to find a mate, find food, or generally explore and stretch its legs.
The easiest way to get rid of moles in the yard without killing them is to hire a licensed and insured wildlife rehabilitator who will do everything in his or her power to make sure that the animal is captured and then dealt with in the most humane way possible. Some laws will dictate what you can and can't do with a mole once you have captured it and removed it from your yard, and you will need to check up on the rules for the state that you live in. They often change, not just from season to season, such as with hunting seasons, but also from state to state and from one county or city to the next too.
You could attempt to use water to flush them out, but you will need to be careful when you do this. To start with, if you are currently in an area that is experiencing water shortages, you will be wasting water. (And it probably won't work.) You may also flood out tunnel systems, giving moles no way of getting out and to the surface. This will drown them. If there are youngsters in the tunnels somewhere that aren't yet old enough to leave the safety of the nest, they will also drown, especially if the mother doesn't have enough warning or time to move them to a safer spot.
You could look at repellents and deterrents to get rid of moles, but this is an that doesn't work more times than it does actually work, especially if you're relying on noise or light devices. Even vibration devices can be pointless if they aren't placed in exactly the right spots. All you'll do is encourage a mole to remove from the current spot it is in to another one, and that other one could still be on your land somewhere. As you can see, using repellents or deterrents, something that is designed to drive the creature away, is not a reliable or effective method of mole removal. Although, admittedly, it probably won't kill them either.
We do not recommend that you try your hand at trapping and releasing moles. They can very often find their way back home, and this is definitely the case if you do not drive them far enough away before you release them, and you're looking at about 15-20 miles in some cases. Animals that are trapped and then relocated also do not have the best track record – they tend to die in a short time frame, normally because they can't find food, water, shelter, or warmth. They are also more likely to come under predatory attacks, because they are unable to find somewhere to hide to protect themselves.
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