Animal Picture  
  Moles - An Overview

Moles are tiny, furry mammals that look like mice except for their long, pointed noses. They are the smallest of all mammals. Its Latin name, "aquaticus", refers to its slightly webbed toes.


The mole measures between 3 and 10 inches long and has a long, flexible, nearly hairless snout, short neck, and a short tail of between 1 and 2 inches. It has no visible eyes. Its forefeet are wider than they are long and its palms point outward. It digs by spading with its forefeet, one and then the other, shoving soil under its body. Its hind legs then push the soil back into the tunnel. Like most moles, the eastern mole digs deep tunnels to make a nest or a shelter, and several other tunnels running just under the surface of the ground. These often appear as low ridges across lawns or flat areas. To dispose of the soil from its deep tunnels, the eastern mole pushes up small mounds called mole hills. Near its shelter or nest, the eastern mole even digs special rooms to get rid of body wastes.


The eastern mole is the most common mole in the Eastern United States. It lives in open woodlands, pastures, lawns, and gardens. It prefers well-drained, loose soil. The eastern mole spends nearly all its time underground and is most active at dawn or dusk.


Moles burrow all or most of their lives through the soil, looking for food. They eat almost any insect, worm, or bug found in or on the ground. If a mole goes for more than a few hours without food, it will starve to death. This occurs because, except for a few pauses, it is moving all of the time. It uses much energy and must eat to get more energy. Even at night, a mole does not stop looking for food. It must eat more than its own weight in food each day to stay alive. It eats mostly earthworms but occasionally eats the larvae or adults of insects found in the soil also. Like most moles, it finds its food using its flexible, hairless snout and sensitive whiskers, which can detect the slightest vibration or movement in the soil.Grubs are a favorite food for moles to eat.


The eastern mole has few natural enemies. It usually dies due to accident or disease.

  Life Cycle

Because of their low death rate, eastern moles mate and have one litter of two to six young a year in the spring. The young are born only four to six weeks after mating, and are born blind and hairless. To mate, the male seeks out the female in her burrow, a hollow earth chamber, under a log, stump, or large rock with a floor of dried grass or shredded leaves. The young are born in this nest or onto the dirt floor near it and spend just a few weeks living off their mother's milk before they are able to go off on their own. The young can take care of themselves after a month and can have young of their own in the following spring.

  Special Features

Because it lives underground, people seldom see the eastern mole. It sometimes ruins lawns with the ridges from its surface burrows. Poisoning or trapping is the only way to get rid of this creature. Soaking the ground heavily with water might help to chase it away as it doesn't like damp or wet soil. Sometimes the sight of ridges is a sign that some insect larva that might ruin the grass roots is present and attracting the mole.

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