Mole –Talpa eurpaea
Moles are common throughout Britain, but rarely seen as they spend almost their entire time underground, only occasionally appearing above ground at the top of one of their characteristic molehills, and even then usually only the head and pink fleshy snout is revealed. Moles have a well developed sense of orientation retaining a mental plan of their complex layout of underground tunnels. The uniform texture of the fur allows it to lie in any direction, making it easier for the animal to reverse rapidly in the tunnels.
When the soil is shallow or subject to flooding, large molehills known as ‘fortresses’ may be formed. They can be up to a metre high and contain a nest chamber and several radial tunnels. The tail is carried erect and it is probable that the hairs on the tip give the mole information about its surroundings by brushing against the tunnel roof.
|Size:||Length: 14 cm plus tail 2.8 cm.|
|Description:||Highly specialised for an underground, digging way of life. Broad, spade-like forelimbs, cylindrical body and highly sensory, hairless, pink snout. The body is covered in a soft, thick, silver-black fur, which hides the small eyes. There is no external ear.|
|Habitat:||Mainly in wooded hilly districts in the north and west of England, Wales and Scotland.|
|Young:||One litter annually with 2 – 7 young. Gestation period is 4 weeks. The young leave the mother when about 5 weeks old. Average life-span is 2.5 years.|
|Nest:||A spherical ball located in the burrow in the centre of their territory, lined with dry grasses and leaves collected from the surface.|
|Diet:||Carnivorous, feeding almost exclusively on earthworms and the larvae of beetles and flies.|
|Population:||Pre-breeding season estimated to be 31,000,000.|