Scientific name: European mole

Family: Talpidi (Talpidae)

Order: Insectivora

Class: Mammalia

CHARACTERISTIC

This little Insectivore has got a lengthened head-body of 12-14cm, whereas the tail is lengthened 3-4cm. Fully-grown males weigh about 80g, and they are slight heavier than the females. Male’s body is lengthened and covered by a coat of short and dark hair. The body framework of the mole reflects the accommodation to the subterranean life: the large front paws has got the shape f a shovel (essential for the excavation); the front limbs, tail and snout presents some sensible hairs to the vibration of the ground (they are called vibrissae); the eyes are little, retrograded and covered by the coat (this means that underground the sight is not essential); the external ear is absent.

LIFE AND HABITS

The European mole is a superlative fossorial and leads a subterranean life, moving in a system of tunnels. As a rule we are witness of a kind of settlement by a guy that starts building a series of shallow tunnels (3-4cm underground; so it can identifies its fellow creatures nearby, and then it finishes with the realization of a great system. The mole carries the ground obtained digging the deepest tunnels (to 1m) on the surface, creating the characteristic hillocks, easily visible on the countryside and on the lawns. In the event that the mole leaves its tunnels, they are immediately taken not only by its fellow creature, but also by the field Mouse or by the vole.

The nest is built in a suitable room situated sideways one of the main tunnels. Strategically the nest is placed so as to ensure a sudden Displacement of the offspring if they are threatened. For the building of the nest the female uses some material that it can find on the surface next to the tunnels: the leaves, the grass, the Paper, the wool or the remains of Plastic are compressed to form a ball for creating a comfortable nest for the birthing or the growth of the offspring. The mole is a solitary animal and it regularly controls its area emitting every day odorous traces.

During the reproductive period no creature ties permanently to a partner and the moles are at the permanent research of females. The pregnancy lasts about 4 weeks, and at the birth the naked offsprings weight about 3-4g. The hair starts to grow after 2 weeks, while at 3 weeks they open the eyes. The offsprings are breast-feeded till to 4-5 weeks; at 5 weeks they start to leave temporarily the nest, for definitively leaving it the next week. It seems to be the progressive increase of the belligerence of the mother to determinate the departure of the offspring that starts the search of a personal environment.

The diet of the mole contains mainly by earthworms of big dimension that are replaced by the larvae of insect during the wintertime. The European mole does not know wintertime of hibernation or sleepiness. It starts its activity shortly before the dust, alternating 4 hours of operosity with so much of break in the nest.

It is considered that most of the guys do not survive more than 3 years, even if someone has reached 6 years.

The main predators of this insectivore are the fox, the stoat, the ermine, the buzzard, the tawny owl, the heron, domestic dogs and cats.

WHERE WE CAN MEET THE MOLW

It prefers the environments with deep and fertile soils that permit a good availability of food and the possibility of digging tunnels. It is present all over the western-central Europe.

CURIOSITY

The mole, in spite of the little dimensions, it can build a system of tunnels that can expand for hundreds of meters. This sophisticated framework, is not only useful for the main activities of the animal (pause, refuge and protection), but it is essential as trap for those little animals, for example earthworms, that moves perpendicularly in the ground. This is the main strategy with which the mole provides of food.