Characteristics, Habits, and Geography
Moles are small, burrowing mammals of the family Talpidae. Typical moles are approximately 6 inches in length, and have round bodies covered in velvety brown, gray, or black fur. They possess tiny eyes almost completely obscured by fur, and are nearly blind, able to discern little more than the difference between light and darkness. Despite the fact that they do not have visible ears, moles make up for their deficiency in vision with remarkably sensitive senses of hearing and touch. They are also excellent swimmers, and can move backwards and forwards with almost equal ease.
Moles use their strong hind legs and broad front feet to dig tunnels in lawns, meadows, and gardens. These tunnels can can be quite long, as a single mole can dig as much as 60 feet in a single day. Moles live and hunt in the tunnels they dig. Their diet consists largely of earthworms, although they will also eat mice, nuts, and a variety of invertebrates. Moles use a toxin in their saliva to immobilize earthworms, which they then store in tunnels for later consumption. They have excellent appetites, and can eat up to half of their body weight in a single day.
Moles can be found throughout North America, Asia, and Europe.
Mole tunnels can kill lawns, harm drainage systems, and undermine the roots of plants. Alternatively, however, moles’ tunneling activities serve to aerate and cultivate land. Typical signs of mole presence include small, conical mounds, or molehills, in lawns and gardens.
Moles are susceptible to trapping, smoke bombs, and poisons such as calcium carbide. It is also possible to flush moles out of their tunnels by flooding the tunnels. Homeowners may choose to attempt to remove moles on their own, or may choose to call in licensed pet removal specialists.