What Part Of The Skin Thickens When One Gains 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 Talpidae family includes the moles, shrew moles and desmans, all of which are restricted to northern North America and Eurasia. These mostly burrowing insects (29 species in 12 genera) are very secretive and have generally been poorly studied due to their way of life. The species that has so far received the most attention from naturalists and biologists is the European mole (Talpa europaea)whose way of life and behavior are probably quite similar to many of the other species within this family.

Moles are highly specialized for an underground, fossil way of life. Their broad, spade-like forelegs, which have evolved as powerful digging organs, are connected to muscular shoulders and a deep sternum. The skin on the chest is thicker than elsewhere on the body, because this region supports most of the weight of the mole when it digs or sleeps. Behind the huge shoulders, the body is almost cylindrical, with somewhat narrow hips, with short sturdy hind legs (which are not particularly adapted for digging), and a short club-shaped tail, which is usually carried upright.

In most species, both pairs of limbs have an extra bone that increases the surface area of ​​the legs, for extra support in the hind legs and for moving the ground with the front leg. The elongated head tapers to a hairless, fleshy pink snout that is highly sensual. In the North American star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata)this organ carries 22 tentacles each carrying thousands of sensory organs.

How do moles dig burrows?

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

As soon as prey is discovered, it is quickly seized and, in the case of an earthworm, beheaded. The worm is then pulled forward by the claws on the front feet, forcing out all the grit and sand from the worm’s body that would otherwise cause severe tooth wear – one of the common causes of death in moles.

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 defended. This cache, often near the mole’s only nest, is packed into the soil, so the earthworms remain alive for a few months, but generally remain inactive. body reserves to search for scarce prey. When selecting such prey for the store, moles seem to be very selective, generally choosing only the largest prey available.

How do moles build tunnels?

Tunneling and maintenance take up much of a mole’s active time. A mole burrows actively, year-round, although once its burrow system is established, there may be little evidence of the mole’s presence above ground. Moles construct a complex system of burrows, which are usually multi-layered. When a mole begins to excavate a tunnel system. It usually creates an initial relatively straight exploratory tunnel for up to 20 meters (22 yards) before adding side branches. This is probably an attempt to locate neighboring animals, and at the same time to form a food trap for later use. The tunnels are later extended and many more are formed under these preliminary burrows. This tiered tunnel system can result in one animal’s burrows overlapping those of their neighbors without actually joining. However, in an established population many tunnels are connected between neighboring animals.

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 can be driven out of their own tunnels by the invasion of a stronger animal and on such occasions the loser will have to leave and establish a new tunnel system.


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

Our knowledge of the sensory world of moles is very limited. They are among the exclusively fossil species, the eyes are small and hidden by dense fur or, as in the blind mole Talpa caeca, covered with skin. Shrew moles, however, forage not only in underground tunnels, but also above ground under green shit. they are still probably only able to perceive shadows, rather than relying heavily on vision for detecting prey or for purposes of orientation.

The apparent absence of ears on almost all species is due to the absence 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 sensory means, smell seems to be the most important medium – a fact supported by the elaborate nasal region of many species, together with the battalion of sensory organs stored in this area.

Breeding Season

The short breeding season is a hectic period for moles, as females are only receptive for 24 to 48 hours. During this time, males usually abandon their normal pattern of behavior and activity, and spend large amounts of time and energy locating potential mates. Mating takes place within the female’s burrow system and this is the one period of non-aggressiveness between the sexes.

The young, with an average of three to the nest, are born four weeks later in the nest. Weighing less than 4 grams (ounces), the pink, naked babies cannot control their body temperature and rely on their mother for warmth. Young remain in the net until they are about five weeks old, after which they begin short explorations in the immediate vicinity of the nest chamber. Soon after, they accompany their mother on more extreme explorations of the burrow system and are able to spread out on their own, those who do not leave will soon be evicted by the mother.

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