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Common Moles (European)

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European mole, or common mole (lat. Talpa europaea) is a mammal of the mole family.

Spread

European mole is widespread in Europe, the middle lane of the European part of Russia, in the North Caucasus, the Urals and Western Siberia, reaching in the east about the confluence of the Irtysh and the Ob. The northern border of the range passes through the middle taiga, the southern - along the forest-steppe.

Appearance

The European mole weighs between 72 and 128 g. They are thin animals with a fat reserve of not more than 3 g. The body length ranges from 113 to 159 mm, and the tail length is 25 - 40 mm. Males are usually larger than females. The body of the mole is long and cylindrical, covered with velvet or black fur. Their eyes are small and often hidden under the fur, the outer ears are missing. Their forelimbs have 5 strong claws, arched outward, making the mole perfectly adapted to digging the ground.

Breeding

In moles, mating occurs during a short breeding period, which occurs in the spring, from March to May. During the mating season, men in search of women expand their burrows. Sexual organs in both men and women during the breeding season are very increased. The mating process was observed above the ground. It is not known whether this is common or these cases are an exception. Using radioactive markers, mating of European moles was also observed underground.

During the breeding season, almost all female moles are pregnant. Females reproduce a single calf annually. The gestation period lasts 4 weeks. At birth, the European mole is bald and blind. The mother nurses the child for a month because the newborn moles grow rapidly and reach their adult size by 3 weeks of age. At this time, the mother does not leave a mole, with the exception of two hours spent searching for food. After 33 days, the mole leaves the nest and after 5-6 weeks after birth leaves the mother. It is during the period of departure from the mother and the search for her place to live that the European mole becomes very vulnerable to predators. The average mole life span is 2.5 years.

Lifestyle

Mole is a typical inhabitant of forests and river valleys. It occupies a variety of habitats: forest edges, meadows, fields, gardens, vegetable gardens, is common in floodplains. In river valleys, the mole penetrates north to the middle taiga, and to the south to typical steppes. It is rare in the watershed areas of the taiga and dry steppes, but not at all in semi-deserts, deserts, forest-tundra and tundra. Avoids places with a high level of groundwater, does not like sandy soils.

The mole digs the earth, screwing itself into the soil and screwing the soil alternately with its paws. Unlike rodents, moles cannot gnaw the earth with incisors, therefore they live only in places with soft pliable soil. Where the soil is harder (for example, under forest paths), they arrange special deep "underground passages", which are used by other animals. Moles are able to cross small rivers - mole snouts, breaking off at the edge of the water, often continue on the other side. The mole is rarely found on the surface of the earth, here it is awkward, because it cannot walk, like most animals, but moves crawling. The trail of the mole that came to the surface is a groove with the prints of the hind legs on the bottom and the front legs on the sides.

Adult moles are non-surviving, attacking relatives who fell on their site and can bite them to death. Demonstrate cannibalism. At the same time, many predators do not eat moles because of the musky smell. Their natural enemies are the fox, marten, weasel, birds of prey (owls, buzzards, etc.). Moles suffer from tularemia, pyroplasmosis, suffer from parasitic worms, fleas, ticks. Their life expectancy is 4-5 years.

The mole spends his whole life in underground passages laid in different horizons of the soil. Moles moves are of two types: residential and fodder. In residential passages, the mole passes from the nest to fodder plots or to a watering place, sometimes from one biotope to another, fodder are traps into which invertebrates fall from adjacent soil layers. In one night, the mole can lay up to 50 meters of travel. The nesting chamber is located at a depth of 1.5-2 m, usually in a sheltered place - between the roots of trees and shrubs, under stumps, bumps, stones, under buildings. It is connected with near-surface feed passages by inclined drifts. Underground mole passages are a system of multi-tier galleries with a diameter of 5-5.5 cm. Feed passages in loose soil are located close to the surface - at a depth of 2-5 cm, go horizontally. They can be seen outside, since when digging, the mole raises the ceiling in the form of an earthen roller. There are no emissions of land. In open areas where the soil dries often and deeply, passages pass at a depth of 10-50 cm. A mole cannot raise a layer of such thickness, therefore, excess land is ejected to the surface through temporary vertical crevasses, forming characteristic moleholes. The molehill over the system of nesting moves is especially large, up to 70-80 cm.

Moles are active all year round, in winter they often make passages under the snow, where invertebrates accumulate, or in the depths of the soil, below the freezing level. In severe winters with little snow, when the earth freezes deeper than half a meter, many moles die from hunger. Drought is also unfavorable for them. Adult moles are usually attached to their plots and returned to them, being driven out or carried to a certain distance. Young animals during the period of settlement are removed from the maternal area to a distance of 2 km.

The mole passage represents a kind of trap with an odorous or thermal bait for earthworms. The worms are attracted by the smell of mole musk, to which the worms exhibit positive chemotaxis, as well as a slightly higher air temperature inside the passage. Shrews are also attractive for worm moves for worms, which often climb into them and eat worms before the mole owner. Other animals use snow-covered mole tunnels - shrews, mouse-like rodents, even weasels and ermines.

Nutrition

The mole feeds on soil invertebrates, among which earthworms predominate. In lesser amounts it eats slugs, wood lice, insects and their larvae (May bugs, nutcrackers, bear, caterpillars), millipedes, spiders. A mole can also eat a small vertebrate (mouse, lizard, frog) if it is inactive. At one time, the mole eats up to 20-22 g of earthworms, about 50-60 g of food per day, which is slightly less than its own weight. The mole is fed several times a day, since food is digested in his body in 4-5 hours. The rate of digestion determines the daily rhythm of mole activity. In between feeding, the mole sleeps in a nest, curled up in a ball. A mole can remain hungry for no more than 14-17 hours, after which it dies. For the winter he makes food supplies, usually consisting of paralyzed earthworms, with which the mole bites its head. In mole holes, up to several hundred immobilized worms were found. The composition of the winter food of the mole does not differ from the summer, but in winter its need for food decreases. Moles do not hibernate.

Number

Moles are ubiquitous and do not belong to protected species. This is one of the few insectivores that mattered like a furry species.

European mole and man

Being on the surface of the European mole is in danger. Owls, gulls, herons, wolves, foxes hunt them. Man remains the number one threat, since moles are considered agricultural pests and are therefore actively pursued by humans. Mole activities bring losses to farmers. When the moles swarm the earth, they can catch the roots of young plants, which leads to their weakening or death. Hills left on the surface are harmful to the blades of combines. Many farmers make serious efforts to ensure that there are no moles on their territory, for this they use traps or poison. Despite this, the European mole is widespread and is not considered an animal, endangered by extinction.

Biological description

Common moles (lat. Name Talpa europaea) are small mammals; according to the classification, they belong to the order of the shrew-like mole family. The size of the elongated body, which ends with a small tail, can reach 11-16 cm, weight - 80-130 g. Males are usually larger than females.

Moles look unusual for an underground resident. The forepaws of moles are more developed and stronger than the hind legs, they are shovel-shaped with claws and are used to make underground passages and build holes.

Unlike mole rats, common moles do not have front incisors for digging the ground.

The head of a European mole has the shape of a cone with an elongated pink proboscis nose. The eyes are very small, closed by moving eyelids, devoid of the lens and retina, which is why the animal sees almost nothing. In some species of moles, vision is completely absent due to skin overgrowing. There are no external ears, but they have excellent hearing, as well as the possibility of smell and touch.

The coat of an ordinary mole is thick and short, found in various shades: from dark gray, brown to black. It grows perpendicular to the skin, due to which animals can easily move back and forth in tight underground spaces. Shedding of fur occurs three times a year in the spring-autumn period. The tail is short, the hairs on it complement the tactile abilities of the animal and allow it to move in the rear direction.

Common moles

Lifestyle & Habitat

Ordinary moles lead an underground lifestyle, almost constantly making moves, starting from the first spring months until the onset of cold weather. On the soil surface, their activity is immediately noticeable by the appearance of molehills, the size of which depends on the friability and moisture of the soil. They prefer soils that you can easily dig with their paws.

The activity of these earth-moving animals lasts all year, only in the winter months they go deeper into the ground, laying new passages located below the level of soil freezing.

Scientists estimate that in one night the mole can make an underground passage up to 50 m long, and the total area of ​​its galleries and burrows reaches 800 square meters. m. For breeding, they dig nesting chambers at a depth of about 1.5-2 m.

The underground passages of ordinary moles are a huge system of multi-tier galleries with a diameter of up to 5.5 cm, some of them are horizontal, but there are also inclined drifts leading to the nest.

Mole moves are:

  • superficial, with a depth of 1-5 cm, when the animal pushes the earth with its paws to the sides and up,
  • deep moves up to 50 cm in size are created when the soil is thrown to the surface where molehills are obtained.

Also, according to their purpose, the moves of ordinary moles are divided into:

  • residential, leading to a nest or to water,
  • feed used for hunting.

Distribution area corresponds to the name: European countries. Several subspecies of such animals live on the territory of Russia: European, Altai, Caucasian and small. Ordinary moles inhabit almost the entire European territory of Russia, the Urals and Western Siberia. Their habitats: clearings and forest edges, floodplains and upland meadows.

Ordinary moles swim perfectly, so they can move to the opposite bank of the river for hunting. But on the surface of the earth they are rare: because of the short legs they only move crawling, so going up can end in death from an attack by enemies, including foxes, owls, martens and other predators.

Food for the mole

The diet of the mole is: earthworms, insects (grubs, butterflies, wood lice, beetles) and their larvae. Moreover, earthworms themselves crawl on the musky smell, which is characteristic of mole passages. Food collection takes place when the animal moves under a layer of earth. If too much food is found, then the animal can put it in reserve, for which it bites off the victim’s head, immobilizes it, and then puts it in one of the underground chambers. In winter, digging the highest molehill, you can find reserves in the form of hundreds of worms.

Common moles eat 3-4 times a day, consuming 20-30 g of worms or other food at a time. After the next “lunch”, the animal retires to rest in the nest, where it curls up and sleeps for 3-5 hours. They can endure hunger only for 14-17 hours and if they then do not find food, they die.

Breeding

The nest, in which an ordinary mole rests or grows offspring, is usually located under the roots of trees, below stumps or bumps, under buildings at a depth of 1.5-2 m. Its bottom is covered with dry grass or soft moss. Typically, such a hole has several inputs and outputs.

Moles are solitary mammals; they form pairs only in the mating season, which happens in early spring. They have puberty by the age of one. A fertilized female specially prepares a nest for herself.

Cubs are born after a 40-day pregnancy completely bald. Their number is usually 5, but sometimes up to 8. Within 30 days, they feed only on breast milk, and then grow up and go into their own holes. If one of the cubs does not want to leave the nest, then his mother drives him away and even bites, seeking care for an independent life.

Adult males are very aggressive in nature, they are able to attack neighbors and even bite them, after which they can eat, showing cannibalism skills. Adult males are very aggressive in nature, they are able to attack neighbors and even bite them, after which they can eat, showing cannibalism skills. When a mole is caught by a person, it is very difficult to hold it in hands, besides, the animal bites and scratches, therefore it is possible to catch it only with gloves; it is very difficult to hold it in the hands of a person, besides, the animal bites and scratches, therefore, it can only be caught with gloves.

Types of moles and their differences

In Russia, there are other types of common moles:

  • Siberian or Altai mole (Talpa altaica) - characterized by a shorter tail and the presence of small teeth, their eyes are open, but they differ poorly among the thick fur. The fur consists of long hairs of 8-12 mm. Body size: 13-19 cm, in females up to 17 cm. Hair color: dark gray or black-brown; animals with spots or with white-yellow hair are found. It lives in mountain regions in the south of Siberia. In this species, the pregnancy in females lasts up to 270 days due to the latent period. Life expectancy of 5 years.
  • Small or blind (Talpa caeca) - is the smallest mole, its body reaches 8-12 cm in length. The fur is usually black-brown or black. It lives on the Isthmus of Caucasus, Turkey and in the northern part of Iran. The diet consists of insects and larvae of beetles, almost does not eat worms. The birth of babies takes place in February-March, in the litter of 1-5 cubs.
  • The Caucasian mole (Talpa caucasica) has dimensions of 10-14 cm, weight up to 95 g. The body is covered with black velvet fur, large teeth. It lives in the region of the Caucasus Range and Turkey. It also feeds on earthworms. Propagated 2 times a year, in the litter of 2-4 babies.

Benefit and harm

The main benefit of moles is their eating of harmful insects and loosening of the soil, which is well enriched with organic substances.

The main benefit of moles is their eating of harmful insects and loosening of the soil, which is well enriched with organic substances.
In agriculture and in garden plots, common moles do a lot of damage due to damage to the roots of useful crops and the destruction of a large number of earthworms. Gardeners and gardeners have been fighting underground digging animals for almost the entire season with the help of folk and store tools.

Mole - description, structure, photo. What does a mole look like?

Moles are small mammals. The smallest of them is the Sichuan shrew moth (Lat.Uropsilus soricipes), representative of the subfamily Uropsilinae. The length of his body is 6-7 cm, the length of the tail reaches 6.5 cm, and the weight does not exceed 10-15 g. The largest mole is the large mohair (Ussuri mohair) (lat. Mogera robusta), which belongs to the Talpinae subfamily. It reaches 21 cm in length and weighs up to 300 g.

All moles from the subfamily of moles (lat. Talpinae) have characteristic features that allow them to lead an underground lifestyle. Individuals belonging to the Uropsilinae subfamily do not have these features.

By the way, the desman also belongs to the family of moles (Talpidae), the subfamily of moles (Talpinae), but the description of this animal is given in a separate article.

The body of moles from the Talpinae subfamily has a bar-shaped, rounded shape without a distinct neck. The mole's head is small, tapered narrowing to the nose. Auricles are rudimentary in the form of a skin roller, they are very rarely developed, small, protrude from the hairline. The mole’s nose extended further than the lower lip is a mobile proboscis. In addition to vibrissae, long, hard and sensitive hairs, there is no hair on it. The nostrils of animals are located on the sides or directed forward.

The head of an East American mole. Photo by Kenneth Catania, CC BY-SA 3.0

The mole of the starfish (Latin Condylura cristata) has soft leather outgrowths in the amount of 22 pieces on the face instead of the nose.

Starsman Mole Head

With an underground lifestyle, the eyes of moles have almost lost their functions. They are fully formed, but they are very small, approximately with a poppy seed, and hidden under thick fur. In some cases, the eyes are equipped with a moving eyelid, in others - in front of the eyes, there are minute cuts on the skin. Sometimes such a cut is located at only one eye. In some species, the eyes are completely hidden under the skin, as, for example, in Caucasian moles. They can only be detected by x-ray examination. Since the vision of moles is poorly developed, this is compensated by the excellent sense of smell, touch and hearing.

Photo by gordonramsaysubmissions, CC BY 2.0

The mole's mouth is armed with 34-44 teeth, depending on the variety of the individual. The teeth of different species of animals have a different shape. In addition, the mammal may make a squeak or hissing and squealing sounds.

Photo by Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 3.0

The front five-fingered paws of moles are tools for digging. They are clawed, with arms extended like shovels, without membranes between the fingers and palms outward. The claw phalanges are bifurcated at the end. The claws are flat and wide. Clavicles are comb-shaped, well developed. The hind limbs are thin, elongated and look like rat paws. The tail of the mole is mainly short, with vibrissae. Its length varies from 2 to 10 cm.

By the way, moles swim well. They swim even mountain rivers.

Photo by: Rudmer Zwerver

Photo by Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 3.0

The body of moles is covered with thick velvety fur. The hair is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the body and has pinches of the core, due to which the hair bends easily in any direction. This protects the fur from contamination and makes it easier for the animal to move underground. The color of the mole fur can be dark gray, brown or black, depending on the species, season and habitat.

Photo by Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo by: Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 4.0

By the way, the mole can run along its underground passages both head and tail forward, and at the same speed. This is facilitated by the special growth of the hairline and the tail covered with vibrissae.

Photo by Tim Gage, CC BY-SA 2.0

Representatives of the subfamily Uropsilinae, which includes only one genus - Chinese shrew moles (Latin Uropsilus), differ from other varieties of moles not only in small size, but also in some other characteristics. These animals have a slender body and relatively high limbs. The front legs of the animals are not adapted for digging or swimming. The brushes of these moles are narrow, the claw phalanges are not bifurcated, the claws are compressed laterally. The paws are covered with scales below. The clavicles are narrow and long. The muzzle is pointed, with an elongated scaly proboscis. The nostrils passing in the tubes are divided by a groove. Auricles are well developed. Eyes are small, hidden in thick hair. The tail of these moles is thin, long, reaching the length of the body. The fur is velvety, like that of other moles. The color of the back is dark, brownish-brown, the abdomen is dark gray. Outwardly, these moles are more like shrews.

Small shrew mole. Photo by: 科学 出版社, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Molting moles.

Periodic change of fur coat, molting, in moles does not occur 2 times - in spring and autumn, as in many animals, but 3, or even 4 times, since moles molt in the summer. This is due to the fact that with constant movement along narrow passages, the fur of the animal is quickly erased. It turns out that the mole completely or partially molts almost all the time, except for winter. In shed places, the skin darkens and thickens three times, but the hair in this area is kept weaker and quickly wiped.

The first molt of a mammal occurs from April to June. At first, females molt, and then males. Worn winter fur changes to a new spring coat. In mid-July, molting occurs in adults, and after them in young ones (in young animals for the first time). After it, almost without a break, the autumn molt begins, at the end of which the moles acquire their best look. Autumn mole fur is velvety, shiny, black with a silver coating, very thick and high.

Where do moles live?

Moles are distributed practically throughout Europe, including Russia, excluding areas beyond the Arctic Circle. In Asia, they inhabit vast territories: Turkey, Transcaucasia, China, Tibet, Mongolia, Indochina, except for the south itself. In North America, moles live in southeastern Canada, in the USA on the west coast, in the Eastern and Central states to Mexico in the south. For Russia, the mole is an ordinary resident. In the European part, it is found in large quantities and is found almost everywhere, with the exception of the northern regions located above the Northern Dvina. In the Asian part of Russia, moles live in Western and Central Siberia to the South-East Transbaikalia, in Altai, in the Sayan Mountains, in the Far East.

Photo by Jan van der Straaten

The distribution of moles depends on how suitable the soil is for digging, and, most importantly, how many invertebrates they can find in it. Moles prefer soft, moist, loose soil, but do not like wetlands. Their territories are forest glades, edges, meadows, broad-leaved forests, mixed coniferous-deciduous young growths and agricultural lands cultivated by humans. The habitats of moles are located on a flat, hilly terrain or in the mountains, where they rise to alpine meadows. The animals from the Uropsilinae subfamily rose higher than others: they are found at an altitude of up to 4,500 m. As for habitats, the mole does not live in arid and hot zones of deserts and semi-deserts, as well as in frozen tundra and forest-tundra. Along the river valleys, animals extend north to the middle taiga and descend to the southern dry steppes. In the habitat, the mole creates a complex system of holes, moves, and snouts. Some of them serve as housing. The mole forms the main moves, looking for food.

Moles lifestyle.

The life of a mole takes place in dark labyrinths that lie underground at different depths. Mammals dig the earth with large inverted forepaws, rotating around the axis of the body. If the soil is soft, loose, moist, then the mole breaks passages 2-5 cm from the surface of the earth. The soil above the moves rises in the form of a roller. In this case, the mole does not throw out. If the earth is dry, passages dig at a depth of 10-50 cm and deeper (up to a meter), while excess land is thrown into the snouts. In this case, the characteristic form of a heap, molehill forms on the surface. From such heaps formed during the digging of the tunnel by the mole, you can determine its direction. Under the forest paths, moles break through deeper tunnels, which connect the most complex surface labyrinths of passages.

Photo by Mark Zekhuis

Photo Credit: Petwoe, Public Domain

Female moles arrange nests at a depth of 1.5-2 meters: under stumps, stones or tree roots, less often in open areas, creating a tunnel system consisting of circular and radial passages. The molehill above the nesting chamber is especially high - up to 70-80 cm in height. The mole’s nest is a small depression that can be lined with grass. The mole wanders around the residence, this is due to the search for the optimal place of existence. In spring, during floods and snowmelt, animals migrate on high ground, in summer, as the soil dries, they descend to the lowlands. The maximum habitat area of ​​an adult does not exceed 50 ha. For brood, the area is 1250 ha. Moles remain within their area all their lives. In spring, males significantly expand their possessions, moving in search of a reproductive female. In hot and dry weather, moles can move away from their territories for considerable distances, going to rivers for drinking.

Moles are very unfriendly and grumpy. They live alone, uniting in pairs only to produce offspring. An exception is the starfish (lat. Condylura cristata), which can live with the female all winter. Young moles caress each other, squeak like chickens, and when growing up, they become pugnacious, especially males. Adults do not get along together. Moles are even able to gnaw and eat a relative, leaving only the skin from him. By the way, in captivity they are very willing to eat meat of their own kind. Due to the inconsiderate nature of the young moles are very active, mastering the territory for their residence. If one of the moles dies or falls into a trap, its neighbors quickly notice this and take away the tunnel system mastered by the animal. Moles mark their territories, highlighting a special secret that accumulates on the abdomen. If the animal does not mark its possessions regularly, then other individuals understand that this area is empty.

What do moles eat?

The vast majority of moles are based on earthworms. In second place are insects living in the ground and their larvae, such as wireworms (larvae of nutcracker beetles), weevils, bears, larvae of beetles (including the May beetle) and flies, caterpillars of scoops. Many moles eat slugs. Starfish (lat. Condylura cristata) eat aquatic inhabitants: small crustaceans, aquatic insects and fish. Mogers include caterpillars of different types of butterflies in their diet. Moles scapanuses and American shrews partly consume plant foods.

Moles feed 5-6 times a day. After each meal, the animal tucks its head and hind legs under the abdomen, taking the form of a fluffy ball, and falls asleep for about 4 hours. It is during this period of time that food is digested. At one time, the animal can eat about 20-22 g of earthworms, and for a day 50-60 g. The mole eats worms whole or torn, starting from the end. With the help of the teeth and fingers of his forepaws, he squeezes the earth out of them. Moles are able to starve for a maximum of 14 to 17 hours. In summer, they eat more food than in winter.

Sometimes moles store food for a period of nourishment. In underground moles, 100 to 1000 earthworms can be collected. Moles immobilize them with a bite in the head, and the worms remain alive for some time.

To search for earthworms, moles do not dig new moves each time. They find food in the tunnels they’ve done before. The worms themselves creep into them, attracted by the warmth and smell of musk secreted by the mole. In winter, earthworms are as active as in summer. They are able to make moves in frozen ground, crawling to the surface. Moles hunt for them, breaking passages under the snow.

Types of moles, photos and names.

Below is a brief description of several types of moles.

  • Common mole he is European mole(lat.Talpa europaea) refers to the genus of ordinary moles. The body length of the animal reaches 12-16 cm, weight 55-90 g, tail length 2-4 cm. The eyes of the animal are small, with narrow slots, without moving eyelids and eyelashes. The fur is black with a lighter shade underneath. The color of moles varies from black-gray and black-brown to completely black. In adults, the fur is darker than in young ones. The offspring appears once a year. European moles live in the forest-meadow zone of Europe, as well as in the European part of Russia, the Caucasus, the Urals and Western Siberia.

Photo Credit: Valery91Thunder, CC-BY-SA

  • Blind mole (small mole)(lat.Talpa caeca) - a representative of the genus of ordinary moles. One of the smallest moles. The length of his body is 8-12 cm, the length of the tail is 2-3 cm. The mole weighs up to 30 g. The animal's eyes are under the skin. The basis of its nutrition is insects and their larvae. Earthworms use less often than other moles. Reproduction begins in early spring, when there is still snow. Blind moles live in the mountainous regions of the Caucasus, Turkey, and Northern Iran.

Photo Credit: Daniele Seglie, CC BY-NC

  • Longtail mole (lat.Scaptonyx fusicaudus) represents the monotypic genus of the same name Scaptonyx. A small animal with a body length of 7.2-9 cm and a weight of up to 12 g. The length of the tail reaches 4.5 cm. The fur is sparse, hard. Long-tailed moles live in the coniferous alpine forests of northern Myanmar, southern China and northern Vietnam. The moves dig shallow.

Photo Credit: Huet, Public Domain

  • Caucasian mole(lat.Talpa caucasica) refers to the genus of ordinary moles. The sizes for the representatives of the genus are average: body length 10-14 cm, weight 40-95 g, tail length 2.5 - 3.2 cm. Females are smaller than males. The color of the fur from bright black after molting changes over time to brown. The mole's eyes are subcutaneous. He makes shallow moves: from 5 to 20 cm in depth, but can go deep and up to 1 meter. The basis of nutrition is earthworms, less often insects and larvae. The offspring brings 1 time a year. The Caucasian mole lives in the southern and central parts of Ciscaucasia, Transcaucasia and the Greater Caucasus, as well as on the Black Sea coast of Turkey.
  • Siberian mole (Altai mole)(lat.Talpa altaica) - a species from the genus of ordinary moles. The distribution area of ​​the animal is Western Siberia, the west of Eastern Siberia, southern Transbaikalia, and northwest of Mongolia. It inhabits forest areas, except for marshes, and river valleys in permafrost areas. In appearance, the animal is similar to the European mole, but has larger sizes. Males have a body length of 13.5 to 19.5 cm and a weight of 75-225 g. The body length of females varies from 128 to 171 mm, weight is in the range of 70-145 g. The tail is short, from 17 to 36 mm in length. The eyes of a mole have a moving eyelid. Individuals living in Altai have a darker color: dark brown and black. In the inhabitants of the northern plains, the black color becomes smoky. There are also albinos, yellow, red and spotted individuals. Siberian mole eats earthworms and insect larvae. The animal differs from many other species of moles in that its pregnancy lasts 9 months: mating takes place in the summer, but the embryos freeze and begin to develop only in the spring. Young growth appears from the end of April to the end of May.
  • Japanese Shrew Mole (mole-shaped urotrichus)(lat.Urotrichus talpo> Taken from the site: nyandfulworld.blog84.fc2.com
  • Japanese mohair (middle mohair)(lat.Mogera wogura) belongs to the genus Mogher. The size of the animal reaches 12-15.6 cm. The tail is short: 2-2.4 cm. Body weight 95-210 g. On the back and sides of the mohair the hair is black or dark, brown and gray, the peritoneum is lighter. Sometimes there are buffy spots on the breast, around the front legs and at the bottom of the abdomen. Basically, Japanese mohair feeds on insect larvae: earthworms take second place in its diet. Japanese Moggers live in the southwest of the Japanese archipelago: in the southern part of Honshu Island, the Shikoku Islands, Kyushu, some islands of the Inland Sea of ​​Japan, the Korean Strait, the East China and Japan Seas. On the mainland, these moles inhabit some eastern regions of China, the Korean Peninsula, in Russia - the south of Primorsky Krai.Meadows and agricultural land on which the Japanese mohirs live can be located at an altitude of up to 1000 m above sea level. These moles build two-level passages: at a depth of 50-70 cm and 1-1.5 m.

Taken from the site: alcedoatthishin1.blog99.fc2.com

  • Stargazer(lat.Condylura cristata) - mole from the genus Condylura. The length of his body is 18.9-21.1 cm. The tail is scaly, up to 8 cm in length, covered with sparse hairs. In winter, it thickens to the diameter of a pencil. The starfish is similar to ordinary moles in the structure of its forelegs, the absence of auricles, small eyes (which, incidentally, are not hidden under the skin) and thick, even black or dark brown fur. A distinctive feature that predetermined the name of this species is the presence of a star-shaped stigma, consisting of 22 leather fleshy processes. With the help of these tentacles, the mole seeks food. All of them are mobile, except for two located in the middle above, which are directed forward and do not bend. The mole starfish swims well and dives not only in the summer, but also in winter under the ice. In water, it eats small aquatic inhabitants and fish, on land - earthworms and mollusks. In addition to water and underground, the starship also leads a terrestrial lifestyle, moving on the ground or in the snow. On the surface, these animals can even build nests by placing them in rotten stumps or foliage deposits. Sometimes they settle in the walls of the muskrat's huts. Animals prefer moist soils. They settle in meadows and forests, along the banks of streams and near swamps. Starfish live in southeastern Canada and the southeastern United States from southern Labrador to North Carolina.

Photo by: Martin Minařík

How do moles breed?

The intensity and duration of the mole breeding season depends on climatic conditions and the quality of habitats. The timing of the appearance of young animals is extended. The race begins in late March. Young females begin breeding later than adults. Moles come to the surface to mate.

According to various sources, the pregnancy of animals lasts from 30 to 60 days, and the Siberian (Altai) mole (lat. Talpa altaica) produces offspring after 9 months. From the end of April cubs begin to appear. They are born naked and blind, in an amount of 3 to 10 pieces. Moles usually have one offspring a year. Some species, such as the big mohair (lat. Mogera robusta), bring offspring 2 times a year. Young growth is growing rapidly and by the month already reaches the size of adults. Females become sexually mature after a year, in some species - after a few months.

Taken from the site: photos1.blogger.com

Enemies of moles in nature.

Moles have few enemies. During spring floods, birds of prey can catch them. They are prey for martens, badgers, raccoon dogs, wild boars. Moles perish from drought or excessive waterlogging. Often the cause of death of animals is a person who destroys them intentionally or accidentally.

The content of moles at home.

Keeping moles at home is not recommended. This is a troublesome task. To prepare a place for their residence is quite difficult. In a small box, the earth quickly becomes dirty and damp. An animal is susceptible to disease under such conditions. If you replace the earth with other fillers, the moles will be deprived of physical activity without performing the usual earthwork, and will die from obesity. It is quite difficult to feed a mole in captivity. In addition, animals are very sensitive to various sounds and vibrations that cause them stress.

The economic importance of moles.

Moles are mammals that possess beautiful velvety fur. Their skins, although small, are durable and suitable for making outerwear. Fur coats from the mole are not the warmest, but socks and beautiful. Their cost is high. From the 20s to the 80s of the 20th century, there was mole fishing in the Soviet Union. In furs, the mole occupied the 6th place in the country, and in some regions - the first, for example, in the Urals and in the middle regions of the European part of the country. In large quantities, mole skins were harvested in the Northwest region. Currently, this fishery has lost economic importance and continues only in insignificant volumes.

How to get rid of moles on a site or in a garden?

To fight moles in the summer cottage, you do not need to destroy their moves, because the animals will simply build new ones. So that animals do not cause disturbance, they are destroyed, caught or scared away. There are many ways to do this. Often gardeners practice the destruction of moles using the following means:

  • with all sorts of traps,
  • using poisons
  • setting dogs and cats
  • pouring molehills with water.
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Mole traps.

Mole traps can be made with your own hands, but it is better to purchase them in a store so as not to get injured when working with metal parts. Traps and traps are based on various principles of their mechanisms:

  • Traps acting as spring traps, that is, crushing the victim and interrupting the vertebrae. This device is not inferior in effectiveness to others, the difficulty lies only in its installation. These molehills are set in two, in different directions. It is necessary to install and mask them so that the pressing part does not cling to the arch for the operation of the mechanism.
  • Plunger or harpoon trap It is quite easy to install on top of the course. When the mole touches the gatehouse located in the tunnel, sharp needles pierce the ground and pierce the animal.
  • Scissor trap squeezes the animal from the sides, acting on the principle of scissors. A molehill is dug up for installation, a trap is placed at the bottom of the course and covered with earth.
  • Loop trap - a wire trap for a mole in the form of a loop, which is placed inside the mole. When triggered, the mechanism strangles the animal in the loop when it creeps through it.

There are various options for the above traps in a more or less expensive design, and homemade traps - even more. But it must be borne in mind that not every person is capable of killing a mole, and even more so in such a barbaric way.

  • Live traps or tunnel traps. If you want to get rid of moles in the country in a simple way, but do not destroy the animal, you can use other devices - live traps that help catch the mole. They can be made independently using cans, plastic bottles and other cylindrical items, or purchased at a store. The principle of the live trap is that, getting inside the body, the animal cannot get back, since the openings are closed by valves that do not have a reverse action. The animal remains alive, and it just needs to be taken away from its site and released. Such traps should be checked regularly so that the mole inside it does not starve to death.

Moles often dig moves in which they reach prey only once. To set traps from moles, you need to determine what moves animals use repeatedly, otherwise the efforts will be wasted and catching a mole will not work. These moves are deeper, and the land in them is more trampled.

Taken from the site: www.ozon.ru

Poison for moles.

Another remedy for moles in the country is poison. But this method of getting rid of animals is not only inhumane, but also unsafe for humans and their surroundings. In no case should you use poisons in areas where children play! The poison can accidentally get on the skin and cause harm to health. Pets can also accidentally swallow poison. In addition, for plants in the summer cottage, toxic substances can be fatal, which will cause irreparable damage to the plantings.

Mole repellers.

More humane to get rid of moles in the garden forever, scaring them away. The following are tools that quite effectively help fight moles in the country:

  • Noise installations or noisers (turntables made from cans, rattles, buried empty bottles in the ground). The fact is that garden moles really do not like various noises and vibrations. On the basis of this, all kinds of devices were invented that made sounds. You can do them yourself:
    • they make a spinner from plastic bottles, cutting holes in it and bending in the form of blades. It is mounted on a metal pin, which is stuck into the ground to a depth of about 20 cm and transmits the sound of a rattling bottle into it,
    • you can also put a tin can on the pin, which, when the wind blows, will rattle and transmit noise to the ground along the metal pin on which it is located,
    • a glass bottle is instilled into the ground at an angle to use the howling of the wind against moles,
    • some even bury cans with wake-up alarms or scatter plastic bottles rattling on contact,
    • loud music, the noise of lawn mowers and other agricultural implements will also scare away moles.

  • Ultrasonic Mole Repeller.

Ultrasonic repellers, conventional or solar-powered, are devices that make sounds that are inaudible to the human ear and produce vibration in the soil. These are very effective and effective means of moles, giving results some time after their installation. Unlike noise devices, they do not irritate people with sounds, look aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. It is enough to stick them into the ground and turn them on. The range of good electronic repellers reaches 15-25 meters. In addition, they help to remove not only moles, but also mice and rats from the summer cottage.

In moles, you can lay special pills or mole balls scented with essential oils. It is believed that animals are scared away by garlic, hemp, herring heads, rags or tow soaked in kerosene, tar, solvent and other strongly smelling technical fluids. You need to place such “tags” in different parts of the site so that the mole is guaranteed to stumble upon them. Technical fluids are not the best tool, given the fact that there are various landings on the summer cottage. But the balls with essential oils do not contain any toxic substances, are harmless to insects and act for a long time. True, after heavy rain they lose their properties.

  • Mole Plants.

Another folk remedy for moles in the country is to scare away animals by the unpleasant aroma of some plants for them. Moles do not like the smell of plants such as legumes (beans, peas, legumes), marigolds, daffodils, Siberian sprouts, imperial hazel grouse, spurge, castor oil, lavender, calendula, black root, goat, garlic, onion (onion, leek, shallots, chives, decorative allium onions).

  • Digging pieces of metal and crushed animal bones into the ground.

Other methods are also used to scare away moles, in particular, placing pieces of glass, metal, and bones in the ground. In this case, care must be taken not to injure yourself by stumbling upon such an obstacle.

  • Mole net (underground barrier).

This is the most expensive and time-consuming, but at the same time very effective method of combating moles in a summer cottage. This refers to the fencing of the entire area from where you want to drive the moles away, with a metal or plastic fine mesh. You can use other materials: slate, sheet metal, concrete, etc. It is necessary to bury such a barrier to a depth of at least 80 cm. It happens that it is necessary to protect lawns and flower beds from moles not only in personal garden plots, but also, for example, in public parks. In this case, the net is buried shallow, but in a horizontal position, under the guarded area. Also, the net from moles can be spread on the prepared soil before laying the finished lawn. Thus, the mole simply cannot make holes in it.

What is the difference between a mole and a mole rat?

  • Animals belong to different orders: moles - to the order of insectivores, mole rats - to the order of rodents.
  • Moles are carnivores and feed mainly on invertebrates (earthworms, beetle larvae). Mole rats eat the underground parts of plants: roots, tubers, bulbs.
  • The mole rats dig the ground with the help of large incisors and push it to the surface with their heads. Moles dig and push the ground with their front paws.
  • Mole rats are larger than moles: their body sizes range from 13 to 35 cm, and weight can reach 700 g. The largest mole, a large mohair, weighs 300 g and reaches a length of 21 cm.
  • The fur of moles is painted in dark colors: black, dark brown, dark gray and their variations. The mole rats are much lighter. Gray, yellowish, brownish and buffy tones predominate in their color.
  • Moles have a small tail from 2 to 10 cm long. In mole rats, the tail is rudimentary and not visible from the outside.
  • Moles are not blind, unlike mole rats. They see, albeit badly. In moles, the eyes are small, but they are closed by the skin in only some species. The eyeballs of mole rats are large, but are always located under the skin.
  • The habitat of moles is wider geographically: moles live in Eurasia and North America, gravitate to forest or forest-steppe zones. Larvae live in the southern and eastern regions of Europe and Asia Minor, preferring steppes, deserts and semi-deserts, sometimes forest-steppe.

On the left is a European mole (lat. Talpa europaea), on the right a mole rat (lat. Spalax microphthalmus). Photo by left: Valery91Thunder, CC-BY-SA. Author of the photo on the right: Vivan755, CC BY-SA 3.0.

What is the difference between a mole and a shrew?

  • Moles live mainly underground. Shrews lead a land or semi-aquatic lifestyle.
  • The tail of shrews is always long and reaches more than 2/3 of the body length. Most moles have a short tail: its length varies from 2 to 10 cm, depending on the type of animal. True, in shrew moles from the Uropsilinae subfamily, the length of the tail is equal to the length of the body.
  • Shrews have fewer teeth - from 26 to 32. Moles 34 - 44 teeth, depending on the type of animal.
  • The diet of shrews is more diverse than that of moles that feed mainly on earthworms and insects. Shrews are also insectivorous, but can also eat lizards, small rodents, carrion, nuts, berries.
  • Many moles (with the exception of some species, for example, the big mohair) give one offspring per year. Shrews may have 2 or 3 of them.
  • Moles live in the forest and forest-steppe zones of Eurasia and North America. Shrews are found in Africa and South America. In Eurasia, they are more widespread than moles, inhabiting in addition to forests and steppes zones of semi-deserts, tundra and forest-tundra on the mainland, as well as Sakhalin, Kuril, Japanese, Malay and other islands. They rise above the moles to the mountains, reaching the edge of the glaciers.

On the left is an ordinary mole (lat. Talpa europaea), on the right is a shrew (species is an ordinary shrew, lat. Sorex araneus). Photo by left: Mark Zekhuis. Photo by right: Sjonge, Public Domain.

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