Why are Mole Traps Illegal

Why are Mole Traps Illegal? In All States?

Mole traps are notably inexpensive ways to control moles both in the UK and the United States. However, the use of mole traps is not lawful universally – apart from the live trapping for moles

  • In some parts of the United States and Europe, you’ll need a trapping or hunting trap to trap moles legally – you’d need to check with the wildlife authorities in your area for details. 

Moles are generally unclassified (you can kill or trap them in your property if they harm domestic animals, crops, or plants) but the use of  “snap trap” or “body-gripping” mole traps is illegal in areas such as Washington, D.C. since they will kill or injure the moles – thanks to a law passed in 2000. 

Moles survive thanks to human activity (feeding mainly on garbage) since they’re non-commensal species – it doesn’t harm humans in urban areas. However, the mole traps that have the design considered as body-gripping are not allowed. 

Details: Why are Mole Traps Illegal?

Killing or injuring these non-commensal mole species s illegal – especially using “snap trap” or “body-gripping” mole traps. However, where live trapping of the moles is not practical, most people use techniques that only drive the animals to their neighbor’s backyards and property. 

  • The Wildlife and Fish Departments are very strict with anyone executing mole trapping – and highly regulates how mole removal companies operate and undertake their activities. 

The mole-trapping ban was passed in 2000 and it prohibits the use of body-gripping traps for control of moles. Unline mousetraps, mole traps are included in the ban because the regulators argued that these devices could main the wildlife or lead to the accidental killing of pets.

  • The state government hunts down and prosecutes the companies and individuals that underate illegal control of moles using the “snap trap” design of the devices – they take up the companys’ items including their business papers. 

The wildlife department has notably even fined and prosecuted those companies and individuals who are notorious for illegal mole trapping – for example, in 2017, one homeowner was fined $700 for the failure of registering their mole trapper in King County.

  • This anti-trapping ban was misunderstood by many homeowners since they did not consider that it included a ban on the trapping of moles without the appropriate authorization from your local government.

The spearing type and scissor-type mole traps are banned for use since they fall under the body-gripping design of traps that could harm or kill the wild animals.

  • The scissor mole traps are created with “U”-shaped jaws and those will generally kill the animal when triggered or tripped – it’s positioned in a tunnel for more effectiveness. 

The wildlife department suggests using other mole control techniques including poison, noisemakers, or ignoring the moles since they’re non-commensal animals. 

Which Mole traps are Legal?

Moles are considered unclassified – and thus homeowners are allowed to kill the wildlife when they’re causing harm to your property or damaging crops and harming the domestic animals.

  • However, there are mole traps that are legal to use – these include the live-trapping traps such as the suitcase-type or cage traps as these do not fall under the body-grasping design.

How would you know that you have gophers or moles – an excellent sign for gopher presence including holes and openings.

  • If the holes have fresh and fluffy dirt will point to the presence of moles and gophers continuing with their digging activity. 

For example, in North Carolina, you must get a depredation permit that’ll allow you to undertake legal control of the moles in the backyard or garden. 

  • But will it be legal to kill voles? Well, moles and voles have different feeding habits; this means that methods used to treat voles won’t harm moles.  However, treating for grabs may also help control moles. 

North Carolina has three key mole species; star-nosed mole, hairy-tailed mole, and the eastern mole – these will dig tunnels but won’t dig up plant bulbs and roots.

Alternatives to Mole Traps?

1. Smoke Bombs

Smoke bombs will work effectively for controlling wildlife including ground squirrels, skunks, rats, woodchucks, moles, and gophers. 

  • The smoke bombs will suffocate the moles while they’re in their tunnel. However, we won’t know how effective different smoke bombs will work 

However, some cities may prohibit the use of smoke bombs for control of moles since the smoke could also drift to the neighbor’s homes – which may be offensive. 

2. Poison Baits 

Poison baits are equally an appropriate mole-control technique – some of the most popular will have warfarin which is a blood-thinner and this will make the moles bleed to their death.

  • Warfarin will equally kill other animals such as songbirds, chickens, pet and feral hogs, dogs, mice, cats, and rats  – but may also poison humans.

The zinc phosphide baits should be used to control moles – but must only be in the hands of licensed mole-control experts.

  • However, criminal or civil liability may befall you if any of the baits intended for killing moles land is picked and consumed by children or pets – and if especially they suffer injury, death, or illness.

3. Flooding

Because moles usually create comprehensive tunnels, flooding these tunnels can be a great way to exterminate the wildlife.

  • However, the moles could end up digging deeper into the tunnel to avoid the floods and you may be forced to get other techniques.

Luckily, flooding the moles is a legal of controlling moles as it will not directly cause physical injury to the animal but will kill it humanely.

  • However, practically flooding may only work to irritate the moles and thus they may be forced to move off your property – this natural technique for mole control is cheap and may be used more regularly.


In conclusion, the anti-trapping law passed in 2000 bans trapping moles in some states such as Washington DC – especially with methods using the “snap trap” or “body-gripping” design traps.

  • Alternative mole control methods that are legal include using drowning, drugs, gas, ferrets, and shooting.
  • Generally, moles are considered unclassified and thus homeowners are allowed to trap this wildlife especially if they’re damaging your property, or harming your domestic animals or crops.

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