By David James
Gareth Hughes, who runs Warrener Pest Control Services, snared the rare find while working at a holiday cottage in Bala.
A pest controller has beaten odds of one in 100,000 by catching an albino mole.
Gareth Hughes, who runs Warrener Pest Control Services, snared the rare find while working at a holiday cottage in Bala on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old from Rhuddlan plans to stuff the creature and will more than likely keep it – despite the fact it could be worth up to £700.
Former builder Gareth, who is part of the British Traditional Molecatchers Register, reckons some members have been catching moles for 50-60 years and never found an albino – yet he captured one less than 12 months since starting up his own business.
He said: “It’s not often you find one – I was doing a job for a customer who was having an ongoing problem with moles.
“I set up six traps and caught three – two black moles and an albino. It’s in the freezer at the moment but I will go to a taxidermist and get it stuffed.
“I think I will probably end up keeping it as it’s the first one I’ve ever caught – they’re a rare find.
“I’ve heard you can get money for them, somebody was saying when they’ve been stuffed they can go for £500-700. I’ll have to look into it.”
Gareth, who grew up in Rhyl, set up his business thanks to a £1,500 loan from the Princes Trust and a £2,000 grant from the Jason Kanabus Fund, which helps young people get established in farming occupations.
He does not use any poisons to catch pests, preferring to use traditional methods such as trapping, smoking, ferrets and terriers.
“Things have been a bit slow recently”, said Gareth, who specialises in farmland pests such as squirrels, rats, moles and foxes.
“In the middle of the summer people don’t really get problems with pests. But that’s starting to change – as soon as the rain comes you find the moles start moving.”
Earlier this year Brian Alderton, founder of the British Traditional Molecatchers Register, confirmed albinos were extremely rare – one in 100,000 – after a 17-year-old farmer’s son caught one near Carmarthen. A rare stuffed white mole has sold for £600 on eBay in the past.
Mr Alderton said: “I’ve been catching moles for 15 years and I have never caught one and I have caught thousands of moles. I know people who have been catching for 30 years and they have never caught one.”