Moles are truly fascinating and specialist mammals who cannot only survive but thrive in the harsh environment they live in. They are specialists in their field (excuse the pun) and have evolved their body and actions to make the very best of their often inhospitable environment.
Many people have never seen a mole some have only seen "Moley" character in Wind in the Willows and believe they are as large as a cat. Most of my clients find it hard to believe that such a small animal can cause so much damage to their land.
Moles have a cylindrical shape which enables them to travel through their tunnel system and dig through soil extremely efficiently. They are very muscular at their front end which enables their specially adapted front paws to propel through the soil. The front paws have an unusual feature in that they have a second thumb. This thumb is a sickle shaped bone which sits alongside the regular thumb and gives added width and strength for digging and shifting soil.
There is much deliberation about how much soil a mole can shift in its effort to build a tunnel system Distances of 10 feet an hour to 65 feet a day have been mentioned, the truth is moles will only dig their tunnel systems to make themselves safe underground from predators and to hunt for worms and insects which drop into the tunnels from the soil above.
If a mole is moving into virgin land where no tunnels exists he will have to make extensive excavations to enable enough chance of catching food before he expires through exhaustion. If however a mole moves into an area with old existing tunnels he will be able to reuse these tunnels as long as there are no existing resident moles.
The tunnels are not just for feeding in they also provide a labyrinth of safety and opportunity for the mole. The sleeping quarters are included in the tunnel system this is often lined with dry grass and used by females for nesting and giving birth. There will also be a food larder constructed which will hold a supply of earthworms for times when worms are more scarce. Some worm larders have been seen to contain over 200 worms each worm has its head bitten off to prevent escape but ensuring it is still alive for up to 2 months !!
Can you imagine finding your way around in complete darkness being able to work around roots and stone? The snout of a mole is covered in tiny highly sensitive hairs which enable him to know exactly where he is in the tunnel and also important when trapping them any changes in air flow. The tail of a mole is used upright whilst the mole is working in his tunnel system This can detect anything out of place on the roof of its tunnel and also detecting vibration above the soil such as predators and humans walking nearby.
Just call Michelle at Queen Bee Pest Management for expert mole control with results.