To listen to this article, please select Control + Shift + Z to launch the pop-up player.

Browser out-of-date!

You are using an out-of-date web browser, to avoid problems when using A-Z Animals and other sites we strongly recommend you upgrade to the latest version of your web browser!
Get Firefox Get Google Chrome Get Opera Get Microsoft Internet Explorer Get Apple Safari
Remove Advertising
A-Z Animals - Animal Facts, Images and Resources A-Z Animals - Animal Facts, Images and Resources A-Z Animals - Animal Facts, Images and Resources

Animals >>

Mole


 Add to Phobia Filter  Contribute  Print  Listen
Mole
Mole
Mole
Mole
Moles are a small mammals that are most well known for living in tunnels underground. Moles are commonly found in Europe, Asia, South Africa and North America although there are oddly no moles inhabiting Ireland.

Moles have long, curved claws which the moles use to burrow underground. Moles can quickly create long tunnels under the surface of the earth and the tunnel entrances can easily be identified by the mounds of earth that appear (normally all over your garden lawn)! These mounds of soil are commonly known as mole hills.

There are around 20 different species of mole found in their natural, earthy environments. Some species of mole are also aquatic or at least semi-aquatic which means that these mole species spend at least some of their time in the water.

Many of the different species of mole are very similar in appearance and range in size from just 2 cm to 2 cm. The oddest exception to this is the star-nosed mole that inhabits parts of Canada and the northeast of the USA. The star-nosed mole can be easily identified by the distinctive star shaped ending to the star-nosed moles snout.

Moles are omnivores that primarily feed and hunt earthworms. The saliva in the mouth of the mole contains a toxin that can paralyze small animals such as earthworms meaning that the mole is able to eat its catch successfully but the mole is also able to store food to eat later. Moles are known to construct special underground larders in which the mole can store its food. Some of the larger species of mole have also been known to eat small mice. The mole does this by catching the mouse at the entrance to its burrow.

The eyes and ears of the mole are very small and usually covered in fur. The small eyes of the mole are thought to have become like this due to the mole not using its eyes and through natural selection. The most powerful sense of smell a mole has is its sense of smell, and some species of mole (such as the star-nosed mole) are able to detect, catch and eat their prey in less than a second!

Moles breed in early spring with the female moles gestation period lasting about a month. The female mole then gives birth to between 2 and 6 mole babies. The baby moles are usually completely independent within a month after birth. The average lifespan of a mole is about 4 years but some species of mole have been known to live until they are 6 or 7 years old.

Due to their small size, moles are preyed about by mammals, birds and reptiles when the moles are above ground. When moles are in their burrows they are relatively safe from harm, with most moles being killed whilst in their burrows from gardeners and their spades.


Mole Comments (16)

Brittany Michelle Carver

"IT includes their tails and their body and their weight and their pounds. They can big and they can stay small. and they eat earthworms."

Jared

"Does the length include tail or just body length? "

letmetalk

"I was writing an information book on moles for fun - this really helped. Great Work!"

Showing 3 of 16 comments.

Show More Comments

Post Comment

Your Name:

Article Rating:

Your Comment:


Article Tools

Print Article
View printer friendly version of Mole article.
 
Listen to Article
Listen to audio version of Mole article. Hot key: CTRL key + Shift key + Z key

Mole Facts

Kingdom:
Five groups that classify all living things...
Animalia
Phylum:
A group of animals within the animal kingdom...
Chordata
Class:
A group of animals within a pylum...
Mammalia
Order:
A group of animals within a class...
Soricomorpha
Family:
A group of animals within an order...
Talpidae
Scientific Name:
Comprised of the genus followed by the species...
Talpidae
Type:
The animal group that the species belongs to...
Mammal
Diet:
What kind of foods the animal eats...
Omnivore
Size:
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is...
12-15cm (4.7-5.9in)
Weight:
The measurement of how heavy the animal is...
250-550g (8.8-19.4oz)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal...
6km/h (4mph)
Life Span:
How long the animal lives for...
3-6 years
Lifestyle:
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable...
Solitary
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct...
Threatened
Colour:
The colour of the animal's coat or markings...
Brown, Grey, Black, White
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal...
Fur
Favourite Food:Earthworms
Habitat:
The specific area where the animal lives...
Woodland, grassland and farmland
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once...
4
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from...
Earthworms. Insects, Mice
Predators:
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal...
Cats, Owls, Foxes
Special Features:Long curved claws and pointed snout

Related Animals

GerbilGerbil
Originally known as the Desert Rat!
HamsterHamster
Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!
MouseMouse
Found on every continent on Earth!
RatRat
Omnivores that eat anything!
DolphinDolphin
Can reach speeds of up to 25 mph!
Arctic WolfArctic Wolf
Incredibly versatile and adaptive!