How Much Should A 12 Week Old Baby Boy Weight Interesting Facts About Moles – Feeding, Digging Behavior, Habitat, and Breeding Season

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Interesting Facts About Moles – Feeding, Digging Behavior, Habitat, and Breeding Season

The family Talpidae includes moles, shrews, and moles, all of which are restricted to northern North America and Eurasia. These predominantly burrowing insectivores (29 species in 12 genera) are very secretive and generally poorly studied due to their lifestyle. The species that has attracted the most attention from both naturalists and biologists is the European mole (Talpa europaea)whose way of life and behavior are probably quite similar to many other species of this family.

Moles are highly specialized for a subterranean, fossorial lifestyle. Their broad shovel-like forelimbs, developed as powerful digging organs, are attached to muscular shoulders and a deep sternum. The skin on the chest is thicker than on other parts of the body because this region supports most of the mole’s weight when it is burrowing or sleeping. Behind the huge shoulders, the body is almost cylindrical, tapering slightly to narrow hips with short, stout hind limbs (not particularly adapted for digging) and a short, club-shaped tail, usually carried upright.

In most species, both pairs of limbs have an extra bone that increases the surface area of ​​the paws, for added support in the hind limbs and for moving the ground with the forelimbs. The elongated head tapers to a hairless, fleshy pink muzzle that is very sensitive. In the North American star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata)this organ has 22 tentacles, each of which carries thousands of sense organs.

How do moles dig burrows?

The function of the mole pit is often misunderstood. Moles do not dig constantly or specifically for food. Instead, the tunnel system, which is the resident animal’s permanent habitat, acts as a food trap that constantly collects invertebrate prey such as earthworms and insect larvae. As they move through the soil column, the invertebrates fall into the animal’s burrow and often do not escape before being discovered by an alert patrolling mole.

Once prey is detected, it is quickly seized and, in the case of the earthworm, beheaded. The worm is then pulled forward through the claws on its front legs, forcing all the sand and grit out of the worm’s body that would otherwise cause severe tooth wear – one of the common causes of juvenile death.

If a mole discovers a sudden abundance of prey, it will try to capture as many animals as possible, storing them in a centralized cache, which will usually be well protected. This hidden space, often found near a single mole nest, is packed into the soil so that the earthworms remain alive but generally inactive for several months. Therefore, if an animal experiences a period of food shortage, it can easily raid this pantry instead of using essential body reserves to search for scarce prey. In selecting such prey for trade, moles appear to be very selective, generally selecting only the largest prey available.

How do moles build tunnels?

Building and maintaining tunnels takes up a large part of a mole’s active time. The mole is actively burrowing throughout the year, although once it has established its burrow system, there may be little above-ground evidence of the mole’s presence. Moles build a complex system of burrows, which are usually multi-layered. When a mole starts digging a tunnel system. He usually makes an initial relatively straight exploratory tunnel up to 20 meters (22 yards) before adding any side branches. This is probably an attempt to locate neighboring animals, while at the same time forming a food trap for later use. Tunnels are later extended and many more are formed below these preliminary burrows. This system of multi-layered tunnels can result in one animal’s burrows covering the burrows of its neighbors without actually being joined together. However, in an established population, many tunnels between neighboring animals are connected.

A mole’s sense of navigation


Moles have a keen sense of direction and often build their tunnels in exactly the same place every year.

In permanent pastures, existing tunnels can be used by many generations of moles. Some animals may be displaced from their own tunnels by the invasion of a stronger animal and, in such cases, the loser will have to leave and establish a new tunnel system.


These master engineers are very familiar with every part of their territory and are suspicious of any changes to the tunnel, making them difficult to capture. If, for example, the normal route to the nest or feeding area is blocked, the mole will dig around or under the obstacle, rejoining the original tunnel with minimal digging.

Our knowledge of the sensory world of youth is very limited. They belong exclusively to fossorial species, the eyes are small and covered with thick fur or, as in the blind mole Talpa caeca, covered with skin. Shrew moles, however, feed not only in underground tunnels but also above ground among leal litter, although they may have sharper vision than other species they are probably still only able to perceive shadows and not rely heavily on by sight to detect prey or for orientation purposes.

The apparent absence of ears in almost all species is caused by the lack of external ear flaps and the covering of thick fur over the ear opening. However, it has been suggested that ultrasound may be an important means of communication between fossorial and nocturnal species. But of all the senses, smell seems to be the most important medium—a fact supported by the elaborate nasal region of many species, along with the battalion of sensory organs housed in this area.

Breeding Season

The short mating season is a frenetic time for moles, as females are only receptive for 24 to 48 hours. During this time, males usually abandon their usual pattern of behavior and activity, spending a large amount of time and energy on finding potential mates. Mating takes place in the female’s burrow system and is a period of non-aggression between the sexes.

The young, averaging three to a litter, are born in the nest four weeks later. Weighing less than 4 grams (ounces), the pink, naked baby cannot control its own body temperature and relies on its mother for warmth. The young are fed entirely on milk for the first month, during which they gain weight rapidly. The cubs stay in the nest until they are about five weeks old, and then they start to explore for a short time in the immediate vicinity of the nest chamber. Soon after, they will follow their mother on exterior explorations of the den system and can disperse from there at will, and those who don’t will soon be kicked out by the mother.

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