Mole Traps

Moles are a perennial problem. In a walk around local fields the other day our curator saw one field which was a mass of mole hills. The tunnels made by these small and cute ‘velvet gentleman’ make it hard for crops above them to grow well and there’s a risk that animals will stumble as their foot breaks through into a mole tunnel. In the days when farming used animals for power, this was a real hazard. Control of the little creatures was essential for the well being of the draft horse as well as the growing crops. Making mole traps was big business.

At Market Lavington Museum we have no less than ten mole traps, which  might indicate the importance these items had. Here we show just one of them from a collection on display in the trade and crafts room at the museum.

Scissors Mole Trap - one of ten different mole traps at Market Lavington Museum

This mole trap probably dates from the mid 20th century but similar devices can still be bought today. They are of a kind known as scissors mole traps. The spring loaded jaws are held apart by a ring and the device is placed in the tunnel so that the mole will push on the ring which causes the jaws to snap on the poor, unfortunate creature. These days, many people  may  regard this as unacceptable, but in past times, with a livelihood a struggle to make, there were no such views about destroying pests. Even today there are concerns that mole hills can introduce deadly listeria into silage so farmers have plenty of reasons to dislike the mole.

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