How Many Ounces Should A 4 Week Old Be Eating 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 moles, shrews, and shrews, all of which are confined to northern North America and Eurasia. These insectivores mostly dig (29 species in 12 genera) are very secretive and because of their way of life, in general, they have been poorly studied. The species that, to date, has received the most attention from naturalists and biologists seems to be the European mole (Talpa europaea)whose way of life and behavior are probably quite similar to many of the other species in this family.

Moles are highly specialized for a subterranean, fossorial way of life. The broad, bead-like forelimbs, developed as powerful digging organs, are attached to muscular shoulders and a deep pectoral bone. The skin on the chest is thicker than elsewhere on the body as this region supports the bulk of the mole’s weight when it burrows or sleeps. Behind the enormous shoulders the body is almost cylindrical, tapering slightly to narrow hips with short strong limbs (not especially adapted for digging), and a short club-shaped tail, which is usually carried erect.

In most species, both pairs of limbs have an extra bone that increases the surface of the claws, for extra support of the hind limbs, and for moving the ground with the forelimbs. The long head tapers into a hairless, fleshy pink snout that is highly sensuous. In North America the star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata)this organ has 22 tentacles each containing thousands of sensory organs.

How do moles dig holes?

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

Once prey is detected, it quickly seizes and, in the case of an earthworm, decapitates. The worm then pulls forward the claws on the forefeet, thereby squeezing out any grit and sand from the worm’s body that might otherwise cause serious tooth wear—one of the common causes of death in moles.

If a mole detects a sudden abundance of prey, it will try to take as many prey as possible, storing these in a centralized cache, which will usually be well defended. This cache, which is often located near the mole’s nest, is packed into the soil so that the earthworms remain alive, but generally inactive for several months. body reserved for searching for rare animals. In selecting these animals for the store, moles appear to be very selective, generally selecting only the largest animals available.

How do moles build tunnels?

Tunnel construction and maintenance occupy much of a mole’s active time. A mole burrows actively, throughout the year, although once it has established its burrow system, there may be little evidence on the ground of the mole’s presence. Moles build a complex system of burrows, which are usually multi-level. When a mole starts digging a tunnel system. It usually makes an initial exploration tunnel relatively straight for up to 20 meters (22 yards) before adding any side branches. This is presumably an attempt to locate neighboring animals, while forming a food trap for later use. The tunnels are later lengthened and many more are formed under these preliminary holes. Tunnel systems at this level can result in the burrows of one animal covering its neighbors without coming together. In an established population, however, many tunnels between neighboring animals are connected.

The Mole’s Sense of Navigation


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

In permanent enclosures, existing tunnels can be used by many generations of moles. Some animals may be evicted from their own tunnels by the invasion of a stronger animal and, on such occasions, the loser will have to go and establish a new tunnel system.


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

Our knowledge of the sensory world of moles is very limited. They are among the only fossorial species, there the eyes are small and hidden by dense fur or, as in the blind mole Talpa caeca, covered by the skin of the Shrew mole, however, foraging not only in underground tunnels, but also above ground among leal garbage Although they may have a sense of vision more fleas than other species. they are still probably only able to see shadows rather than relying heavily on vision to detect prey or for orientation purposes.

The apparent absence of ears on almost all species is due to the lack of external ear flaps and the covering of thick fur over the ear opening. It has, however, been suggested that ultrasonics may be an important means of communication among fossorial and nocturnal species. But in all sense olfactory appears to be the most important means – a fact supported by the elaborate nose region of many species, together with the battalion of sensory organs stored in this area.

Breeding season

The short breeding season is a frantic period for moles, as females are receptive for only 24 to 48 hours. During this time, men usually abandon their normal patterns of behavior and activity, spending large amounts of time and energy on locating potential mates. Mating takes place in the female’s burrow system and this is a non-aggressive period between the sexes.

The young, with an average of three in the litter, are born in the nest four weeks later. Weighing less than 4 grams (ounces), pink, naked babies cannot regulate their body temperature and rely on their mothers for warmth. The young are fed exclusively with milk for the first month, during which they rapidly gain weight. Juveniles remain in the nest until they are about five weeks old at which time they begin to make short explorations in the immediate vicinity of the nest chamber. Shortly after that, they accompany their mother to explore more outside the hole system and can disperse from there on their own, those who do not leave will soon be evicted by the mother.

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