Leading article: Mole music

In the matter of the British and their relations with small field animals, Beatrix Potter and Kenneth Grahame have a great deal to answer for. Take moles.

We are brought up to see them less as pests than as friends: lugubrious velvety creatures, all the worthier of our sympathy for their mysterious underground existence and for being blind. It is an affinity that lasts into later life, even when we wake up to find a mashed landscape where our carefully tended lawn extended the evening before.

So we search out humane ways of sending them on their way. We offer a selection in our pages today. If you reject the more destructive solutions, as your Wind in the Willows upbringing would surely dictate, you can choose between weasel droppings – a method that seems satisfactorily in harmony with the natural world – or various applications of vibration and noise. Empty bottles, toy windmills and singing birthday cards seem the kindest. But will they do the trick? Might Mole not evolve to enjoy a little night music? Then again, maybe we've just found a better use for the vuvuzela.

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