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Moles have been around since the dawn of time, and molecatchers have been right there with them. But how do you catch what you can’t see? Moles tunnel underground, often going to the depths of the earth in search of food. Throughout history, molecatchers have had a tough time catching these underground creatures, and their methods have reflected the times in which they lived.
Mole Catching in Roman Times
In the Roman era, molecatchers used earthenware pots with water as traps. While traveling along their tunnels, moles would fall into the pots that catchers had inserted into the run.
This practice continued throughout history as numerous cultures tried to grapple with these underground pests. As the times advanced, so did mole catching techniques. Local potters began to make clay barrel traps until the use of wood caught on as a primary source for trapping in the middle ages.
Mole catching in the Middle Ages & Renaissance
Throughout the middle ages, molecatchers often traveled far, moving from farm to farm helping farmers and estate owners rid their properties of moles. They were often given lodging and taken care of while they worked to trap moles for their clients. Once the molecatcher found and killed the moles, they were able to sell the moleskin for extra money. America imported more than 4 million moleskins from England each year during that period.
Not all molecatchers traveled, however. In fact, many parishes and communities had local molecatchers that helped farmers and estate owners tackle their mole problems. When a traveling molecatcher came through, they often threatened the livelihood of these local catchers. As such, many local and community molecatchers used contracts to help secure deals with local landowners. The longest running molecatcher contract ran for 31 years.
Just how much money would a molecatcher make?
Molecatchers made good money: their yearly income was more than that of a teacher at the time. They often made enough income to pay for their own houses, property, and lifestyle. Some estimates suggest that molecatchers in England made around £50, which was the equivalent of what a low-wage police officer earned at the time.
Mole catching and the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution changed the world - and mole catching was no exception. Machinery began to change the way the country looked and more workers moved from farms to industries and factories. Molecatchers were able to move from clay or wood traps to steel traps.
Landowners and molecatchers also looked to the use of a new poison to get rid of moles: Strychnine. The poison was easy to use and could get rid of moles in half the time and at half the cost, yet molecatchers couldn’t show landowners their results as easily. Trapping had always been an easy way to show landowners the proof of their work. Poison didn’t offer the same results and ushered in environmental concerns as well. The use of Strychnine wasn’t banned, however, until 2006.
Do You Have a Mole Problem? We Can Help!
At Mole Patrol, we’ve been helping homeowners in the Pacific Northwest get rid of mole problems for decades. We work quickly to trap moles where they live and eliminate them, and our dedication to mole removal has set us apart from other mole extermination companies.
If you are dealing with a mole infestation in Seattle, Bellevue, Woodinville, Sammamish, Kirkland, or Redmond, call the Mole Patrol at 425.744.0371 or fill out our Request for Service form to get started with one of our Seattle area mole exterminators. We offer a 6-month limited warranty, waiving the set-up fee should another mole decide to move in again. Protect your property from these pests the right way - call the Mole Patrol.