The common mole (Talpa europaea) - a resident of deciduous forests from a number of insectivorous - is found everywhere near human dwellings: in meadows, kitchen gardens, gardens, green spaces. It even lives in the center of large cities on well-loosened and dehydrated flower beds, lawns, etc. Therefore, moles are referred to synanthropes, that is, animals - companions of human settlements. The mole is a very peculiar animal, and it is rarely found in nature.
We usually recognize the presence of moles by the presence of molehills — conical piles of earth, which animals push to the surface, breaking through underground passages. Sometimes, in the evening or in the morning, in places where the mole lives, one can observe how a small pile of earth appears, which gradually increases. But the mole itself cannot be seen, since it leads an underground way of life.
What does an ordinary mole look like
Moles are small animals. Their body is about 15 cm long, it has the form of real excavations. It's sharpened front and round behind, head elongated, ends with a mobile, short, very sensitive proboscis, neck almost imperceptible. Mole ordinary has well-developed canines of the upper jaw, similar to the canines of predatory animals. The canines of the lower jaw are weakly developed and hardly differ from the incisors. Their ears are small, without ears, bordered by a short fold of skin that opens and closes the auditory opening. The eyes are very small, hidden under the skin. Mole limbs have a peculiar structure: short and very strong anterior ones, in the form of inverted to the side and outwards of spatulate-like formations. The fingers are interconnected by a leathery membrane, with long flattened, rounded blunt claws. The forelegs have an additional, so-called sixth finger, which increases their digging surface. All these devices help the animal to break through its underground passages, moving forward in the soil. The hind limbs of moles are much smaller than the front ones, the fingers on them are not connected by membranes and end with fragile claws. Equally important for the underground lifestyle is hair, which reliably protects the skin of the mole when it moves in narrow passages. The fur is flat, short, almost black with a grayish sheen. On the belly it is dark gray, sometimes with a reddish tinge. A peculiar feature of the mole fur is that it is not divided into awn and undercoat. The color of moles inhabiting the territory of Ukraine often have different color shades: brown, reddish, golden yellow, steel gray, even snow white (albino). The reason for this phenomenon is not yet known.
In Ukraine, an ordinary mole is widely distributed, especially in its right bank part. Here he is found in Polesie, in the forest-steppe belt, in the Carpathians, and in the river valleys they penetrate far into the steppe regions, up to the Black Sea coast. In the choice of habitats, the moles are not very capricious, however, they prefer wet (but not swampy) soils, if they have enough food. Therefore, these animals are quite often found in open meadows, in river valleys, in culturally cultivated lands, although they can often be seen in deciduous forests. In the mountainous regions of the Carpathians moles rise to the meadows.
Moles spend almost all their lives in dark passages dug at different depths (5-50 cm) from the surface and not connected with it. He spends a lot of energy on constant digging underground activities, and therefore requires a lot of food.
During the day, an adult eats twice as much as it weighs itself. Moles may starve no more than 17 hours, after which they die. The common mole eats various animal food: insects, their larvae, pupae, earthworms, centipedes, spiders, snails and other invertebrates that fall to their hunting paths. Occasionally, mice or lizards enter the mole’s diet, hiding from danger and falling to mole passages. Moles are active throughout the year, their fresh mole can be seen in the beams with shallow snow cover. The most active moles are at night, when the earthworms that they hunt for are raised from the deep layers of the soil closer to the surface ones, more humid. Least active at noon.
The nesting chamber, well strewn with dry grass, leaves or moss, the female arranges at a depth of more than 1.5 m from the surface, often under the protection of the root system of a tree or shrub, under stumps, and even under buildings. Here in the first half of May, after a 40-day gestation, the mole mole gives birth to three to nine hairless, very helpless cubs that grow quickly. After 5-6 weeks after birth, they already reach half the length of the mother and leave the nest to the underground passages, where they begin an independent life. At two months of age, young moles already dig shallow passages.
The benefits and harm of moles
The economic value of an ordinary mole is twofold. Consuming a huge number of insect pests, in particular the May beetles, their larvae, moles benefit, their fur is quite valuable. However, settling in the meadows, where the moles feed mainly on earthworms, and their numerous molehills occupy a large area in the soil and bother the machine grass of the grass, thus causing damage here. A lot of harm from them and on fruit schools, flower beds, lawns, garden beds, where they drop young animals in their sink, tear their root system and the like.
You can also watch a funny video about a small and funny mole that was accidentally discovered on the surface of the soil.
Mole ordinary - a small animal, only 10-20 centimeters in length. Behind his calf is a tail. Its length is 2 centimeters. In addition, the structure of the body also allows the mole to move underground without interference. Its skin is covered with a smooth, short hair, pleasant to the touch. It does not interfere with turning and backing in the dark aisles, due to the fact that it grows upwards, and not in the direction backwards. Most often, the animal has black wool, although sometimes there are exceptions in the form of ashy or brown shades. But still the fur is not insured against damage. After all, the mole has to move around in a tight space.
In order to restore hair in time, these animals molt 3-4 times a year. The most beautiful fur they grow after autumn molt, which begins in late October. In the winter, it grows taller and thicker, and in the summer, “relief” comes again and the wool becomes shorter and less. The animal muzzle is elongated and covered with sensitive hairs.
It is known that an ordinary mole can “walk” backwards. He has this opportunity thanks to vibrissae growing on the tail. He has a special tool to facilitate movement. Mole ordinary digs under the ground moves, with the help of their paws. If you look closer, you can see that they are wide, powerful, equipped with strong claws. These "shovels" and the mole works, moving in endless underground tunnels.
Prose of life
Moles sleep several times a day: for 2-3 hours. In winter, they do not hibernate, but move in deep, non-freezing soil layers. It would seem that under the ground moles do not threaten anything. But it is not. At that moment, when it appears at the surface of the earth, throwing out extra soil, martens, foxes, birds of prey can grab it. Although they do it only when it is impossible to get other food. Because the smell of mole is unpleasant to other animals. In addition, various diseases and parasites such as fleas, ticks, and worms are dangerous. In favorable conditions, these animals live for 3-5 years. Between the moles do not get along well. They are fighting over the territory, they do not live in families and do not hesitate to eat their comrade after his death.
Mole is called a pest because, moving underground in vegetable gardens, it gnaws on the roots of plants, which then die. But it is a mistake to think that this animal eats greens. He is far from herbivorous. What eats an ordinary mole? He is insectivorous. He eats the mole of all representatives of invertebrates that come across to him: mollusks, larvae, worms, slugs, centipedes, woodlice. It happens that lizards, mice and frogs fall to him. This baby is a terrible glutton. This is not surprising, because small mammals have to eat a lot to maintain their body heat. On the day he uses the amount of food equal to his weight (60-100 grams). In winter, he eats what he managed to stock.
Increase in numbers
An ordinary mole tends to leave offspring, like any other creature on our planet. To this end, the male mates with the female. This usually happens in March or April. In a month, the female brings the offspring in the amount of 4 to 9 cubs. Initially, they are not covered with wool, are very small and need constant care. Therefore, the mother is next to them until the youngsters reach the age of 1.5 months.
This animal not only crawls under the ground. He sets up a house for himself that covers with dry grass. In addition, the designation of moves, which pave the mole, is different. According to some, he makes his way to the watering place, forage and his nest, while others serve as traps for insects and invertebrates. Mole ordinary arranges a house at a depth of 1.5-2 meters. Most often, housing will be located between the roots or under buildings. There are no restrictions for the depth of the moves that add up to the multi-tiered system. If the soil is loose, the mole can go down 100 meters. The “corridors” dug by him remain for a long time. If they are not destroyed by other animals or people, several generations of moles can live in them.
These animals work with their paws at high speed, so there are a lot of winding passages under the ground. An obstacle for them is the "heavy" soil. The mole is especially bad during a drought. It can even die if it is not possible to crawl through a dried out piece of soil. The trap for future foodstuffs is that the common mole is shallow. Interestingly, its smell, which repels predators, attracts worms. They crawl into the moves made by him, where they are usually eaten. Other animals, such as mice, use wormholes. And shrews often penetrate feed passages specifically to eat worms.
Do they need nature and people?
If such an animal exists, then there is some benefit from it. Not everyone can determine what it is. Especially those who have country plots or live in their own home. Such people know that the mole is a pest. Laying the moves, it damages the plants that may die. Krotoviny spoil the appearance of lawns and lawns. From their activities, the number of earthworms useful for the soil is reduced. The owners are trying to get rid of such an unpleasant neighborhood. To do this, apply both modern and folk remedies, trying to do everything to get the mole to leave their site. But at the same time, this animal eats pests and loosens the soil. So, there is still a benefit from it. The main thing is that he worked away from home farms.
It is hard to imagine who could have an idea to sew a fur coat from molehill fur. This idea of the creator of the first such product, probably, prompted the softness and silkiness of the animal's hair. Yes, these coats look attractive, unusual and exclusive. But they are expensive. Make of such fur and other products. We can say that a person takes revenge on the mole for spoiled vegetable gardens.
Description and characteristics
Common and European moles are most commonly found in forests, meadows and fields. Where the moles live, darkness reigns, therefore moles have no eyes. Some representatives sometimes have eyes, they are small and practically undeveloped, with their help the mole can only distinguish the night from the day.
Mole almost all the time is underground, to the surface it is selected in the process of digging molehills. Underground Mole vision is not necessary, he has aggravated other senses - smell, touch, and a very sensitive ear. The organs of hearing in the mole are internal.
So what does a mole look like? This is a rather small individual, the length of which does not exceed 20 cm. The muzzle of the mole without eyes is covered with hairs, with the help of which the mole perceives the surrounding world. The nose of the animal resembles trunk. With his help, the mole produces its own food. The animal is covered with black hair, to the touch the coat is velvety and soft. Most often, this animal is found in black color, but representatives of this species are also ashen and brown. The fur grows exclusively upwards, no growth directions have been noticed, that is, the wool does not lie either to the right or left, neither up nor down.
The paws of the mole resemble hands. They have fingers, a total of 5. On the fingers are long, dense claws, which help the animal dig the ground and build tunnels. The neck of the animal can not be noticed during the first inspection.
Typically, representatives of this species molt 2-3 times a year. It is best of all to the touch and appearance of the wool after the autumn molt, before winter it grows thicker and longer, in order to protect the animal from hypothermia in the winter.
For all his life, representatives of this breed grow up to 44 teeth.
Despite the average height, the weight of the animal is extremely small. Moles weigh only 180-200 grams. Males are slightly larger than females.
In winter, the underground inhabitants do not go to bed, hibernation is not typical for them. During the day they sleep for 2-3 hours and go to bed a couple of times a day. With relatives in the world do not coexistdivide the territory. They are able to eat carrion, eat dead tribesmen. Under the ground virtually no enemies. Danger for the mole is represented by land predators - foxes, martens. An underground resident for these animals is the last in the food chain, because the mole exudes an odor that is unpleasant for all other animals.
Skin parasites deliver a lot of trouble to underground animals, often it leads to death.
Harm and benefits from moles
Farmers immediately realize that an uninvited lodger has started on their property. Appear on earth small earth mounds. This is the exit of the animal to the surface and vent at the same time. The tunnels communicate with each other, which is also done to ensure that the underground dwelling has enough oxygenated air.
Sometimes underground excavators cause significant damage to the crop, damaging the roots and taking away moisture from the plants. Too loose dug over by these animals the ground, the plant loses support, the roots do not get enough moisture.
As for the benefits, the underground excavators feed mainly on insects, so they can save the crop from excessive attacks of wood lice, worms and other pests.
In the modern industry of fashion began to appear coats of moles. They are very expensive, but the quality is excellent. It is believed that in a similar fur coat impossible to freeze. With the fur coat of the mole began to sew and other fur products.