The mole is a small, burrowing mammal found throughout the world. It is classified as a rodent, and in some areas, it is considered a pest.
Moles are most commonly found in forested areas, meadows, grasslands, and even deserts. Despite their small size, moles are proficient diggers and often build complex tunnel systems underground. This blog post will take a closer look at these interesting creatures. Read on for more information!
Natural History of Mole
Moles belong to the family Talpidae. Sometimes, people confuse moles with other animals, such as mole rats, golden moles, mole crickets, and mole crabs. Although they share the same name, these creatures do not belong to the mole family Talpidae. True moles are divided into two genres: new world moles, including Star-nosed mole, Gansu mole, Hairy-tailed mole, or Eastern mole, and old world moles (shrew moles), including Long-tailed mole, American shrew mole, or Asian shrew mole.
A mole is a small, dark, furry creature related to the weasel and the ferret. Male moles are called boars, while females of the species are known as a sow. A group of moles is collectively called a “labor.”
There are approximately 70 species of moles, and they can be found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. Most species of moles live in underground burrows, but some species are known to live in trees.
Moles can be nuisance animals because they can damage gardens and lawns as they burrow around. Some people think moles are cute, while others find them pests. In some cultures, moles are considered to be lucky symbols.
Moles eat insects, earthworms, and grubs. They also consume small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The diet of the mole depends on the region where it lives. In temperate regions, the mole’s diet consists mainly of earthworms. In contrast, moles living in tropical or subtropical regions consume more insects.
The mole has a high metabolism and needs to eat frequently. It typically eats every few hours and can consume up to its body weight in food each day. The mole stores food in pouches located inside its cheeks. When it finds a large food source, it may stuff its cheek pouches full of food and return to its burrow to eat later.
The mole uses its sensitive nose and front paws to find food. It also has keen hearing and can detect the movement of prey underground. Moles are extremely proficient at digging holes and creating mole tunnels while pushing the dirt to surface level, forming a little hill known as a “mole hill.”
Mole Appearance and Behavior
Moles are small, furry animals with long, pointy noses and no external ears. Moles are generally 10-12 cm in length, with a tail about 4-5 cm long. Moles typically have black fur, but some mole species can have brown or grey fur.
Some moles are also proficient swimmers who can hold their breath for up to six minutes. For example, the star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata) is an aquatic mammal that lives in damp lowland regions. It may forage along the banks of streams and ponds.
Moles are also experts at digging, and their homes are typically underground tunnels. A single mole can have a network of tunnels that spans acres of land. For example, the eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus) is known to live on more than two acres in North America.
Moles are generally solitary creatures but can sometimes be found in small groups. Moles typically live in separate burrows but share a common tunnel system when they are found in groups. Females will usually only associate with males during the breeding season.
However, they can be aggressive if they feel threatened. Moles are also known to attack other animals, such as dogs and cats, if they feel their territory is being invaded. Moles are active day and night but are more likely to be seen during the day. Moles are not good at jumping, so they can be easily caught if they are above ground.
Moles have poor eyesight but make up for it with their sense of touch. They have sensitive whiskers on their face to navigate in the dark. Moles also have a good sense of hearing.
Moles are found in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In the United States, they are most commonly found in the eastern states. Moles prefer damp and cool areas, such as woods or fields. They build their homes by digging deep tunnels underground.
Mole Mating and Reproduction
Moles reproduce by sexual reproduction. During the spring and summer months, male moles mate with the female moles, producing offspring together. After approximately 42 days, the female will give birth anywhere from 2-6 young.
They are born with their eyes closed and hairless and typically weigh less than an ounce. They must rely on their mother for food and shelter. After about five to six weeks, the babies reach their adult size and can leave the nest and fend for themselves.
Mole animals have a relatively short lifespan when compared to other animals. The typical lifespan of a mole is only about 2-4 years. This is because these animals are constantly burrowing and digging, which takes a lot of energy and can be quite taxing on their bodies.
Additionally, moles are also preyed upon by a variety of other animals, which can further shorten their lifespan. However, there have been some instances where mole animals have lived up to 10 years in captivity.
Predators of Moles
Moles have several predators, including weasels, foxes, and snakes. Humans are also a major predator of moles and are often considered pests due to their burrowing lifestyle.
Golden Moles and Marsupial Moles
Other animals resemble true moles, including those in Chrysochloridae (golden moles) and the family Notoryctidae (marsupial moles). Both of these moles are very different in appearance and lifestyle.
The golden mole is a small, furry creature about the size of a hamster. They are found in the southern parts of Australia and live in burrows they make in the ground. Golden moles are nocturnal creatures and spend most of their time underground.
The marsupial mole is a much larger creature, about the size of a rabbit. They are found in the northern parts of Australia and live in dry, open areas such as deserts. The Marsupial moles have two further subspecies: Northern marsupial mole and Southern marsupial mole.
Both of these moles are very specialized for their lifestyle. They have small eyes and ears, meaning they rely on their sense of touch to navigate their way around underground. They also have very strong claws, which help dig their burrows.
Mole Importance in the Ecosystem
Despite their bad reputation, moles are interesting and beneficial creatures. They play an important role in the ecosystem. They help to aerate the soil and turn over nutrients, which benefits other plants and animals. They are also a popular food source for many animals, including birds of prey, owls, snakes, foxes, and badgers.
Despite their importance, moles are often considered to be pests by humans. This is because they can damage crops and gardens by digging holes and eating the roots of plants.
Are Moles Blind?
Moles are not blind but have very poor vision and color blind. Their eyes are small and beady and are usually covered in fur. Moles spend most of their time underground, using their sense of touch to navigate.
Are Moles Dangerous?
Moles are not considered dangerous animals but can be a nuisance if they damage your property. But If you have a mole problem, you can hire a professional to remove them from your area. You can also try to trap them yourself using a variety of methods. Whatever you do, ensure you do not harm the moles, as they are protected by law in some states.
What’s the Difference Between Moles and Mice?
Moles are small, burrowing animals that have velvety fur and short legs. They live underground and are excellent diggers. Moles are solitary creatures and do not interact with other moles.
Mice, on the other hand, are social animals. They live in households or fields in the form of groups and love to play. Mice have long tails and whiskers, and they are very curious creatures.
What’s the Difference Between Moles and Shrews?
Moles and shrews are both small, burrowing mammals with short legs and long, cylindrical bodies. The main difference between moles and shrews is that moles have poor eyesight and depend on their keen sense of smell to find food, while shrews have good eyesight and do not depend on their sense of smell to find food.
Additionally, moles are solitary creatures that live in complex tunnel systems underground, while shrews are very active animals that live in small groups above ground. Finally, moles grow larger than shrews.
Moles are interesting creatures that have long been a part of human culture. Whether you consider them to be lucky symbols or pests, there is no denying that they are fascinating animals.
I hope this article has helped you to understand these creatures better. If you have any questions or want to learn more about moles, please comment below!