Many have heard about moles, but only units have seen them in nature. Villagers usually discover not the animal itself, but traces of its presence in the estate. At the same time, they immediately take measures to free the site from uninvited animals, because they know something about moles: what they eat, what they see, how they hear.
Moles are miniature predators of 10-25 cm in length, building under the ground with strong front paws. The size of their tail in length is equal to the size of the head. The animal skin is covered with short and soft fur, which is easy to fit from front to back, and in the opposite direction. Due to this, the mole easily moves through dug underground tunnels both forward and backward. Skin color varies from dark gray to black tones.
The animals have tiny eyes. In some individuals, they hide under the skin, almost merging with it. Underground creatures, despite the presence of eyes, are blind. Their subtle organs of vision are atrophied - they are not equipped with a retina and a pupil.
The animals have no auricles, or rather, they are covered with a dense skin or spliced with it. This eliminates the penetration of land into the ears. The functions of the auditory organs in moles are atrophied.
Oriented animals due to the sharp scent. The nose of the animals transformed into a moving process, constantly sniffing at the space and searching for prey. They have a well developed sense of orientation. They mark the habitat area with a special secretion. This allows them to find their labyrinths and learn about the invasion of aliens in their dwelling.
The mole is a shrew; it has perfectly adapted itself to life in the ground. He rakes the earth with powerful blade-blades with strong claws, which are flattened at the top. With them the animal loosens solid ground, penetrates the manhole and builds an intricate network of highways, merging into an elaborate labyrinth, where the mole feeds and makes supplies, sleeps and multiplies.
Mating animals in the first spring days. The offspring appears once a year, not earlier than April-June. In the litter, 3–9 blind and bare cubs are found. Young animals make quiet sounds, like a chicken squeak. At first, the young are friendly, but over time, aggressive clashes appear in the brood.
Monthly moles are difficult to distinguish from adults. At this age, the animals begin to leave the maternal abode and build their highways. During the migration period, if necessary, they swim across small rivers.
The habitat of moles is west of Russia, Siberia and the east of the Urals, or rather, their forests and forest-steppe zones. They choose to live in regions with wet soils that are easy to dig and rich in what a mole in the forest and in the border with it feeds on. The bulk of the animals leads an underground way of life, doing the laying of tunnels.
Some animals prefer a terrestrial way of life, which allows them to find food without much difficulty. However, due to the peculiarities of the structure of the front paws intended for tearing the soil, on land, the moles have to move only by crawling. Thick twilight and night - hours of activity of these animals.
In the steppe and taiga expanses there is not enough of what the moles feed in the forest (due to sour and dry soils). However, they are occasionally found in these zones, mastering flood meadows and river floodplains, covered with shrub thickets.
Moles have an increased metabolism. This is the reason for their excessive gluttony. Earthworms, roots and plants - this is what moles eat in the forest and on its outskirts. If the worms are in abundance, the animals, immobilizing them, form an edible stock.
Having eaten 20 g of worms at a time, the animal curls up and sleeps for about 5 hours. The awakened animal is immediately taken for the search for food. A mole eats 3-4 times a day. To saturate it lacks 60-80 g of feed. Moles do not hibernate, their activity does not fade all year round.
What the mole in the forest feeds on also does not cease the vital activity. The animal follows the worms even under the snow cover. He tirelessly engaged in laying snowy feed highways. Livestock creeps into the network of mole tunnels. It attracts the musky smell of animals and fever. Mole can only collect prey.
The mole is an insectivorous animal. Bugs, larvae, bugs and worms - this is what a mole in the forest and in flood meadows feeds on. And he is a predatory animal, feeding on small rodents, arthropods of various sizes. It is not a problem for him to eat, for example, a lizard.
The benefits of moles
These shrews appreciate for the magnificent fur skins used in the fur industry. Strong mole skins covered with thick fur. In the fur market, the need for animal skins is quite high.
Due to the way of life of these animals, the soil condition improves. Their "labor activity" on farmland brings significant benefits. True, they are able to cripple the rhizomes of plants, and because of molehills it is difficult to mow herbage.
Is Mole Dangerous to Man?
There is no direct threat from moles to man. However, this earth-moving creature is considered by summer residents to be the main problems in garden plots. The fact is that farmers have a headache when moles are found in the garden. The benefits and harm of them literally go hand in hand.
Moles harm lawns. Digging them under the treated area is not difficult. The root system of well-groomed lawn grass is shallow. Under the turf lies uncooled land - a place of a huge concentration of earthworms. In such a place food is easily obtained.
Swarm tunnels, the animal spoils the rhizomes of cultivated plants. Because of its activities, fruit and vegetable crops are dying. In addition, he does not shun extermination of planting and harvest.
In addition to all that, destroying what a mole in the forest eats - worms and frogs that benefit the soil, the animal harms the land plot. Due to the disappearance of beneficial animals, the soil deteriorates and insects are bred on it.
What feeds a mole in nature?
The typical habitat of an underground resident includes extensive natural landscapes: forests, steppes, coastal areas. This animal can only live in soft soil without stones and large amounts of groundwater.
Geography of residence, as well as the absence of massive teeth predetermined his diet:
- Gastropods without shell,
- May Khrushchev,
In addition to adult insects, the animal loves to feast on the larvae. Also on the "table" it can get vertebrates of small size, if they can not quickly move. During the day, an adult can eat an amount of food equal to its weight.
For the winter, he does not hibernate, but significantly reduces his appetites. Over the past, a mole makes stocks of decapitated earthworms (their total number can reach several hundred).
Representatives of this species practice eating their own kind, if one has stepped into the territory of another.
Who eats moles?
On average, the mole's life expectancy reaches about 5 years. But this period can be significantly shortened if one of the natural enemies meets on his way:
In most cases, underground residents manage to hide themselves from predators. However, even if the latter dig up the mole hill and discover its inhabitant, the sharp musky smell makes eating impossible. True, in hunger time, some predators can change their taste preferences.
Only a weasel, resistant to the secret secreted by the body of the animal, can consider it as a source of food. But this rarely happens: during the rut, weasels make a strong chirping that is unmistakably recognized by their potential victims.
In this video, fisherman Anatoly Lopatin will show a pike that swallowed a mole:
Can I tame it?
Among all candidates for domestication, representatives of the family of moles occupy almost the last place.
Obstacles for the domestication of the animal is more than enough:
- Deprived of the ability to see, these animals developed excellent audibility. Therefore, any door slam, loud coughing or talking on raised voices will cause irreparable damage to their psyche. For the same reason, you need to fence the pet from the sounds of the radio, TV, etc.,
- You need to create a familiar ecosystem. Not every landlord will wish to recreate natural earth mounds in the dwelling so that the young one could make moves there,
- It’s highly discouraged to sublocate a “friend” to a pet. If they are of the same sex, then there is a non-zero probability of a deadly battle for territory and even cannibalism. If the female turns out to be a neighbor, then you need to be ready to accept a brood in a dozen or two cubs. The problem is that determining the sex of the animal on the eye is almost impossible.
Eating Moles at Home
Moles are pretty cute creatures, so children and women can enjoy at first sight. Deciding to domesticate an alien from the garden, you need the right way organize his meals:
- Up to 90% of its daily menu is earthworms. They can dig as yourself, and buy a jar in a fishing store. There is such a capacity of about 150 rubles,
- Insects and their larvae can also be bought at the point of sale for fishermen. The price for them is quite democratic: a box with ten small larvae of the May beetle of a small size will cost 100 rubles, a large size will cost 200 rubles,
- You can buy these treats for your pet in Chinese online stores. Savings in this case will reach up to 50%,
- Constantly you need to follow the mole drinking, otherwise it will not last a day.
The cost of feeding the animal is comparable to that for cats (if we take into account only the price of store food). However, care requires much more care from the owners, given the exotic choice.
What damage do moles do to gardeners?
Applied of damage no less extensive:
- In the process of searching for earthworms, the animals destroy the root system of vegetables, fruits, berry bushes and decorative flowers. The most active individuals can completely destroy a number of plantations,
- The destruction of earthworms practically eliminates the beneficial role for the fertile layer of the earth,
- Hillocks at the entrance to the hole gradually become bumps, making it difficult to move around the garden. They also interfere with the use of garden tools (for example, scythes) and spoil the decorative paths and flower beds,
- Negative impact on the system of garden drainage ditches (if any).
How to get rid of moles?
The scale of damage caused by animals may be such that the owners of the site will decide to remove the pest. For this you need to consider the features of the mole organism and turn them against the owner:
- Very sharp scent helps to search for food and navigate in complete darkness. This results in increased sensitivity to strong and peculiar odors. The "black list" includes: decorative onions, garlic, legumes and some types of lilies,
- Another consequence of blindness is the incredible development of hearing. This weakness of the organism of the animal is used by special “scarers”. The devices imitate the charm of caress - the worst enemy of the animal. Alternatively, an ordinary aluminum can on an iron rod will do,
- In some cases, moles are caught with their own hands: they listen to the stormy activities of underground inhabitants and, armed with a shovel, get one after another out of the holes,
- Trying to get rid of the pesky pest, some gardeners decide on an extreme measure: pour mink water. But this method of struggle can bring irreparable harm to fruits and vegetables in the garden.
The list of what a mole eats includes almost any living creature that is smaller in size that is not lucky enough to get into its hole. This mouse, and insect larvae, and worms, and spiders. We can safely say that this picky little animal will never be left hungry.
Pro Mole: Lifestyle
Moles are often associated with rodents, but there is a significant difference between them: moles do not have such a powerful jaw as rodents, therefore, excavators choose places with the softest soil that can be easily digged with their paws.
In addition, moles can swim. They are able to swim across small rivers. This is indicated by underground passages, which, having interrupted to the reservoir, continued after. The animals are not adapted to the existence on the surface, so they can be seen there extremely rarely. And even when a mole is shown, he behaves awkwardly, since he is completely blind and not used to perceiving some kind of environment different from his moves. Therefore, he crawls. His vision is adapted only to distinguish light from darkness. And it is precisely thanks to such seemingly negative properties of its physical structure that the mole is ideally adapted to life underground.
Moles can be easily recognized by the following external features:
glossy pelt with short black fur,
The extended proboscis, at the bottom of which are nostrils,
large and widely spaced front shovel-like paws with palms facing up,
small, poorly developed hind legs,
small eyes with poor eyesight,
body length is about 110-170 millimeters, and weight ranges from 60-150 grams,
The life cycle of the mole family can be represented as follows:
in the period from the beginning of February to the end of May, the female in one brood brings up to four cubs,
up to nine weeks goes to the formation of young animals in adults,
six months later (maximum), the parents leave their fully formed brood in the familiar network of underground passages and begin to create a new one.
Because of their indecisiveness with other individuals, insectivores spend most of their lives underground alone, except when their offspring form. They rarely change their habitat, and basically their whole life is concentrated within a single system of tunnels. Moles have two musky glands, with the help of which a specific smell of musk is produced, capable of attracting both other relatives and earthworms, which serve as an object of food.
To survive, an average weight mole (eighty grams) needs to consume at least forty grams of earthworms per day. The main feature of the network of tunnels dug up by a mole is that various insects and worms penetrate into them, becoming simple prey. For a long time, moles are able to hold their prey with bites to the head. The network of underground tunnels grows in the event that the excavators begin to feel the need for food.
For full-fledged livelihoods, the mole of an average body weight (80 grams) requires about 40 grams of earthworms daily. The tunnels are designed so that they have enough light prey in the form of various insects and worms. If the available “food” comes to an end, then the network of tunnels immediately begins to expand.
The length of the underground passages can reach hundreds of meters. They can be divided into two types:
- The moves are located almost at the very surface of the earth. Their purpose is to search for food. This kind of trap for worms and insects. It is known that without food a mole can exist only 10-15 hours.
- The moves of the second type go deep into and serve as dwellings for the animals. Since these animals do not hibernate, deep moves serve as a great place to survive the cold.
In addition, the animals naturally need water, so some passages break straight to nearby water bodies.
Favorite habitats of moles and their species
The favorite habitat of the mole family is deciduous as well as deciduous forest land. In addition, moles can be safely called sworn enemies of gardeners, because the search for prey often leads them to gardens and fields - the main habitat of earthworms and other insects. Their networks of underground tunnels cause a huge variety of problems: from damage to the appearance of the landscape and the formation of earthen hills on it to the destruction of many cultivated plants. Moles love fertile soil and cannot be found in peaty or, for example, sandy soil.
But, oddly enough, the presence of moles in vegetable gardens and garden plots also brings benefits: loosening makes the soil softer and more hydrated, and also harmful insects that cause irreparable damage to plants gradually begin to disappear from the garden. Although moles destroy the root system, plants and roots are not included in their diet.
Thus, the main habitats of the colonies are:
- Forests (mainly young birch and deciduous woods).
- The glades.
- Areas nearby driveways.
- Garden plots.
- City parks.
Preference is given to places that are well warmed by sunlight and contain a large amount of humus and food (worms, larvae, insects). Also important is the humidity of the terrain: it should be moderate.
Кроты точно обойдут стороной густые большие леса, сосновые боры, болота и участки почвы, на которых растут культуры с сильной корневой системой.
Территория, выбранная для проживания, должна снабжать пищей круглый год. Дело в том, что в засушливые периоды и во время заморозков черви перебираются глубже в землю и становятся недоступными для слепых охотников.
Выбор места для жизни, помимо прочего, зависит от температуры и частоты осадков. Если выбранный участок сопровождается нестабильными показателями климата, зверьки будут стремиться перебраться поближе к лесу, где земля меньше промерзает в период зимы, а влага лучше сохраняется в летние месяцы.
Moles are very sensitive, so they themselves regulate descending to lowlands or moving to higher points until the conditions become comfortable.
What moles eat
Scientists have long been interested in the diet of moles. In the course of numerous studies it was found that the food of moles is exclusively of animal origin. Plant fibers enter the body of animals either by accident or in the stomachs of eaten worms. And even having got into the body of a mole, the vegetation cannot be digested and just leaves the body.
The search for food is carried out through the digging of new moves, when the old ones have no one to hunt. If there is a shortage of the usual food - worms, insects and larvae - the moles eat small vertebrates and even frogs and rats.
In the process of permanent work under the ground, moles spend enormous amounts of energy, the restoration of which requires impressive amounts of food. The animals have a very good metabolism, which also affects their appetite. During the day, the individual absorbs the amount of food that exceeds its own weight (70-140 grams). If the mole is very hungry, then the caught victim in the form of, for example, a worm is eaten entirely on the surface of the earth. If hunger is not atrocious, the prey is carried off and eaten inside the passage.
The mole's metabolism is so good that the beast can digest 50 grams of food in just 30 minutes. And this provided that the stomach of the animal contains only 20 grams. After 4-6 hours, he is ready for the next meal. Between such feeding, on average, several hours pass, which are accompanied by a sleepy state.
In the cold season, the animals are less voracious, as they dig less, respectively, and spend less energy.
Excavators are very creative in providing supplies for the winter. They catch the worms, and then just bite their heads. It immobilizes the worms, but saves them life. In this form, the worms are stacked in rows along the walls of the passages.
In terms of water, moles are also very greedy. Therefore, they invariably live near any water body to which access is provided.
Mole - description, structure, photo. What does a mole look like?
Moles are small mammals. The smallest of them is the Szechuan shrew (Latin. Uropsilus soricipes), a representative of the subfamily Uropsilinae. The length of its body is 6-7 cm, the length of the tail reaches 6.5 cm, and the weight does not exceed 10-15 g. The largest mole is the large Mogera (Ussuri Mogera) (Latin Mogera robusta), which belongs to the Talpinae subfamily. It reaches 21 cm in length and weighs up to 300 g.
All moles from the subfamily of moles (Latin Talpinae) have characteristic features that allow them to lead an underground lifestyle. Individuals belonging to the subfamily Uropsilinae do not have these characteristics.
By the way, muskrat also belongs to the family of moles (Talpidae), the subfamily of moles (Talpinae), but the description of this animal is given in a separate article.
The body of moles from the subfamily Talpinae has a bar-shaped, rounded shape without a pronounced neck. The head of the mole is small, tapered tapering towards the nose. Auricles rudimentary in the form of a skin roller, very rarely they are developed, small, protrude from the hair. Stretched beyond the lower lip, the mole's nose is a mobile proboscis. In addition to vibrissae, long, hard and sensitive hairs, there is no wool on it. Nostrils of animals are located on the sides or directed forward.
The head of the mole is East American. Author photo: Kenneth Catania, CC BY-SA 3.0
In the mole-sprocket star (lat. Condylura cristata), on the face instead of the nose, there are 22 soft-skinned outgrowths in the number of the nose.
The head of the mole-sprocket
With the underground lifestyle, the mole's eyes have practically lost their functions. They are fully formed, but have very small sizes, approximately, with a poppy seed, and are hidden under thick fur. In some cases, the eyes are equipped with a mobile eyelid, in others - in front of the eyes on the skin there are tiny slits. Sometimes this slot is located only in one eye. In some species, the eyes are completely hidden under the skin, as, for example, in Caucasian moles. They can only be detected by X-ray examination. Since the eyesight of moles is poorly developed, this is compensated for by an excellent sense of smell, touch and hearing.
Photo by: gordonramsaysubmissions, CC BY 2.0
The mouth of the mole is armed with 34-44 teeth, depending on the species of individual. The teeth of different species of animals have a different shape. In addition, the mammal can make a squeak or hissing and screaming sounds.
Author photo: Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 3.0
The fore-five moles of the moles are digging tools. They are clawed, with wrist-like arms extended, without membranes between fingers and palms turned outwards. Claws phalanges forked at the end. Claws flat and wide. Clavicle comb-like, well developed. The hind limbs are thin, elongated and resemble the paws of rats. The tail of the mole is mostly short, with vibrissae. Its length varies from 2 to 10 cm.
By the way, moles swim well. They even swim across mountain rivers.
Author photo: Rudmer Zwerver
Author photo: Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 3.0
The body of moles is covered with thick, velvety fur. The hair is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the body and has core clamps, due to which the hair easily bends in any direction. This protects the fur from contamination and makes it easier for the animal to move underground. The color of the mole fur can be dark gray, brown or black, depending on the species, time of year and habitat.
Author photo: Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 3.0
Author photo: Didier Descouens, CC BY-SA 4.0
By the way, a mole can run along its underground passages both with its head and tail forward, and with the same speed. This is due to the special growth of the hairline and the tail covered with vibrissae.
Photo by Tim Gage, CC BY-SA 2.0
Representatives of the subfamily Uropsilinae, which includes only one genus - Chinese earthquake moles (Latin Uropsilus), differ from other species of moles not only in small size, but also in some other traits. These animals have a slim body and relatively tall limbs. The front paws of the animals are not adapted for digging or swimming. The brushes of these moles are narrow, the clawed phalanges are not split, the claws are squeezed from the sides. Feet covered with scales at the bottom. Clavicle narrow and long. Muzzle pointed, with elongated scaly proboscis. The nostrils passing through the tubules separate the groove. Auricles are well developed. Eyes are small, hidden in thick wool. The tail of these moles is thin, long, reaching the length of the body. The fur is velvety, like other moles. The color of the back is dark, brown-brown, the abdomen is dark gray. Outwardly, these moles are more like shrews.
Small Shrewboy Mole. Photo author: 科学 出版社, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Periodic change of fur cover, molting, in moles does not occur 2 times - in spring and autumn, like in many animals, but 3, or even 4 times, as moles molt in summer. This is due to the fact that with constant movement along narrow passages the fur of the animal is quickly erased. It turns out that the mole completely sheds almost or all the time, except for winter. In faded areas, the skin darkens and thickens three times, but the hair in this area is weaker and quickly wipe.
The first molt of a mammal occurs from April to June. First, females molt, and then males. Worn winter fur is changing to a new spring coat. In mid-July, in adults, and behind them, in young ones (in young animals for the first time), there is a summer molt. After it, almost without a break, the autumn molt begins, after which the moles get their best appearance. Autumn fur mole velvety, shiny, black with silver patina, very thick and tall.
Where do moles live?
Moles are distributed throughout almost all of Europe, including Russia, excluding the regions beyond the Arctic Circle. In Asia, they inhabit vast territories: Turkey, the Caucasus, China, Tibet, Mongolia, Indochina, except for the south itself. In North America, moles live in southeastern Canada, in the United States on the west coast, in the Eastern and Central states, to Mexico in the south. For Russia, the mole is an ordinary resident. In the European part, it is found in large numbers and is found almost everywhere, with the exception of the northern regions located above the Northern Dvina. In the Asian part of Russia, moles live in Western and Central Siberia to Southeastern Transbaikalia, in Altai, in the Sayan Mountains, in the Far East.
Photo author: Jan van der Straaten
The distribution of moles depends on how well the soil is suitable for digging, and, most importantly, how many invertebrates they can find in it. Moles prefer a soft, moist, loose soil, but do not like wetlands. Their territories are forest glades, forest edges, meadows, deciduous forests, mixed coniferous-deciduous young stands and agricultural land cultivated by man. Mole habitats are located on flat, hilly terrain or in the mountains, where they rise to alpine meadows. The animals from the subfamily Uropsilinae rose higher than others: they are found at an altitude of up to 4500 m. As for habitat zones, the mole does not live in arid and hot zones of deserts and semi-deserts, as well as in frozen tundra and forest tundra. Along the river valleys, animals spread northward to the middle taiga and descend to the southern dry steppes. In the habitat area, the mole creates a complex system of holes, passages, and torts. Some of them serve as housing. The main moves are formed by the mole, searching for food.
The mole's life passes in the dark labyrinths that lie underground at different depths. Mammals dig the ground with large, inverted forepaws, rotating around the axis of the body. If the soil is soft, loose, wet, then the mole breaks through the courses 2-5 cm from the surface of the earth. The soil above the passages is lifted in the form of a roller. Earth while the mole does not throw. If the ground is dry, the passages are digging at a depth of 10-50 cm and deeper (up to a meter), while the extra earth is thrown into the back. In this case, on the surface of the characteristic form of a handful, molehills. For such heaps, formed during the digging mole tunnel, you can determine its direction. Under the forest paths, moles break through deeper tunnels that connect the most complex near-surface labyrinths of passages.
Photo by Mark Zekhuis
Author photo: Petwoe, Public Domain
Female moles make nests at a depth of 1.5-2 meters: under stumps, stones or tree roots, less frequently in open areas, creating a system of tunnels consisting of circular and radial passages. The molehill above the nesting chamber is especially high - up to 70-80 cm in height. The mole's nest is a small depression that can be lined with grass. Mole roams the area of residence, this is due to the search for the optimal place of existence. In the spring, during floods and snowmelt, the animals move to higher elevations; in summer, as the soil dries, they descend to lowlands. The maximum habitat of an adult does not exceed 50 hectares. For brood area is 1250 hectares. Moles remain within their area throughout their lives. In the spring, the males significantly expand their domain, moving in search of a reproductive female. In hot and dry weather, moles can move away from their territories for considerable distances, going to the rivers for drinking.
Moles are very quarrelsome and quarrelsome. They live alone, paired up only to produce offspring. An exception is the starfish (lat. Condylura cristata), which can live with the female all winter. Young moles cuddle each other, squeak like chickens, and as adults mature, they become pugnacious, especially males. Adults do not get along together. Moles are even able to nibble and eat a relative, leaving only the skin. By the way, in captivity they very willingly eat meat of their own kind. In connection with the hatefulness of character, young moles are very active in mastering the territory for their residence. If one of the moles perishes or falls into a trap, his neighbors quickly notice this and take away the system of tunnels mastered by the beast. Moles mark their territories, highlighting a special secret that accumulates on the wool of the abdomen. If the animal does not mark its possession regularly, then other individuals understand that this plot is empty.
Types of moles, photos and titles.
Below is a brief description of several species of moles.
- Common Mole, the same european mole(lat.Talpa europaea) refers to the genus of moles. The length of the body of the animal reaches 12-16 cm, weight 55-90 g, tail length 2-4 cm. The eyes of the animal are small, with narrow cuts, without moving eyelids and eyelashes. The fur is black with a lighter shade below. The color of moles varies from black-gray and black-brown to completely black. In adults, the fur is darker than in young. The appetite appears once a year. European moles live in the forest-meadow zone of Europe, as well as in the European part of Russia, in the Caucasus, the Urals and Western Siberia.
Author photo: Valery91Thunder, CC-BY-SA
- Blind mole (small mole)(lat.Talpa caeca) - a representative of the genus ordinary moles. One of the smallest moles. The length of its body is 8-12 cm, the length of the tail is 2-3 cm. A mole weighs up to 30 g. The eyes of the animal are under the skin. The basis of its nutrition are insects and their larvae. Earthworms consume less frequently than other moles. Reproduction begins in early spring, when there is still snow. Blind moles live in the mountainous regions of the Caucasus, Turkey, Northern Iran.
Author photo: Daniele Seglie, CC BY-NC
- Long-tailed mole (lat.Scaptonyx fusicaudus) represents the monotypic genus Scaptonyx of the same name. A small animal with a body length of 7.2-9 cm and a weight of up to 12 g. The tail length reaches 4.5 cm. The fur is thin, hard. Long-tailed moles inhabit the coniferous highland forests of northern Myanmar, southern China and northern Vietnam. Moves dig shallow.
Photo by: Huet, Public Domain
- Caucasian mole(lat.Talpa caucasica) refers to the genus of moles. Sizes for representatives of the genus are average: body length 10–14 cm, weight 40–95 g, tail length 2.5–3.2 cm. Females are smaller than males. The color of the fur from bright black after molting changes to brown with time. The eyes of the mole are subcutaneous. He makes shallow moves: from 5 to 20 cm in depth, but can go deeper and up to 1 meter. The basis of the food is earthworms, less insects and larvae. Creeper brings once a year. The Caucasian mole lives in the southern and central parts of Ciscaucasia, Transcaucasia and the Greater Caucasus, as well as on the Black Sea coast of Turkey.
- Siberian mole (Altai mole)(lat.Talpa altaica) - view from the genus of common moles. The area of distribution of the animal - Western Siberia, west of Eastern Siberia, southern Transbaikalia, north-west of Mongolia. It inhabits forest areas, except for swamps, and river valleys in permafrost regions. In appearance, the animal resembles a European mole, but has larger sizes. Males have a body length from 13.5 to 19.5 cm and a weight of 75-225 g. The length of the body of females varies from 128 to 171 mm, the weight is in the range of 70-145 g. The tail is short, from 17 to 36 mm in length. Mole eyes have a mobile eyelid. The individuals living in Altai have a darker color: dark brown and black. The inhabitants of the northern plains black color becomes smoky. There are also albinos, yellow, red and spotted individuals. Siberian mole eats earthworms and insect larvae. The animal differs from many other species of moles in that its pregnancy lasts 9 months: mating occurs in the summer, but the embryos freeze and begin to develop only in the spring. Juveniles appear from late April to late May.
- Japanese Shrew Mole (mole urotrichus)(lat.Urotrichus talpoides) - the only species of the same kind. Named for its similarity with the mole and the shrew at the same time. The body size of the animal is small: 8-10 cm. The length of the hair-covered tail reaches 3 cm, and there is a brush on the tip. The thick and soft fur of these moles is not velvety. It has a dark brown or black color with a metallic sheen. The animal moves both along long courses located shallowly and on the very surface of the earth. A Japanese shrewd mole climbs on shrubs and trees to a height of 2-4 m. In winter, it sometimes grows in empty bird nests and birdhouses. Reproduces once a year. This species of moles inhabits the treeless slopes of mountains and volcanoes from the base and up to 2000 m above sea level on the southern islands of Japan.
Taken from the site: nyandfulworld.blog84.fc2.com
- Japanese Moguera (average Mogier)(lat.Mogera wogura) belongs to the genus Moher. The size of the animal reaches 12-15.6 cm. The tail is short: 2-2.4 cm. Body weight 95-210 g. On the back and sides, the hair of the moher is black or dark, brown and gray, the peritoneum is lighter. Sometimes on the breast, around the front paws and below the abdomen there are ocher specks. In general, the Japanese Moguera eats insect larvae: earthworms occupy the second place in its diet. Japanese Moguers live in the southwest of the Japanese archipelago: in the southern part of the island of Honshu, the islands of Shikoku, Kyushu, some islands of the Inner Sea of Japan, the Korea Strait, the East China and Japan Seas. On the mainland, these moles inhabit some eastern regions of China, the Korean Peninsula, in Russia - the south of the Primorsky Territory. Meadows and agricultural land on which the Japanese Moguer lives can be located at an altitude of up to 1000 m above sea level. These moles build two-level passages: at a depth of 50-70 cm and 1-1.5 m.
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- Звездонос (звездорыл)(лат.Condylura cristata) – крот из рода Condylura. Длина его тела составляет 18,9-21,1 см. Хвост чешуйчатый, до 8 см в длину, покрыт редкими волосками. Зимой он утолщается до диаметра карандаша. Звездонос похож на обыкновенных кротов строением передних лап, отсутствием ушных раковин, мелкими глазами (которые, кстати, не скрыты под кожей) и густым, ровным черным или темно-коричневым мехом. A distinctive feature that predetermined the name of this species is the presence of a star-shaped stigma, consisting of 22 leather fleshy processes. With the help of these tentacles, the mole searches for food. All of them are mobile, except for two located in the middle at the top, which are directed forward and are not bent. The star-bearing mole swims well and dives not only in summer, but also in winter under ice. In the water he eats small aquatic inhabitants and fish, on land - earthworms and mollusks. In addition to water and underground, the starfish also leads a terrestrial mode of life, moving on the ground or snow. On the surface, these animals can even build nests, placing them in rotted stumps or foliage. Sometimes they settle in the walls of muskrat's huts. Animals prefer wet soils. They settle in meadows and forests, along streams and near marshes. Star-bearing birds live in the southeastern regions of Canada and in the southeastern states of the United States from the southern part of Labrador to North Carolina.
Photo author: Martin Minařík
How do moles breed?
The intensity and duration of the mole breeding period depends on climatic conditions and habitat quality. The timing of the appearance of young stock are stretched. Gon starts from the end of March. Young females start breeding later than adults. For mating, moles come to the surface.
According to various sources, animal pregnancy lasts from 30 to 60 days, and the Siberian (Altai) mole (lat. Talpa altaica) produces offspring after 9 months. From the end of April, cubs begin to appear. They are born naked and blind, in an amount of from 3 to 10 pieces. Moles usually have one litter per year. Some species, such as the large Mogera (lat. Mogera robusta), produce offspring 2 times a year. Young growth is growing rapidly and by the month is already reaching the size of adults. Females become sexually mature in a year, in some species - in a few months.
Taken from the site: photos1.blogger.com
Enemies of moles in nature.
There are few enemies in moles. During the spring floods they can be caught by birds of prey. They are prey for martens, badgers, raccoon dogs, boars. Moles die from drought or excessive waterlogging. Often the cause of death of animals is a person who destroys them intentionally or accidentally.
Mole content at home.
Keep moles at home is not recommended. This is troublesome. Preparing a place for their residence is quite difficult. In a small box, the ground quickly becomes polluted and damp. An animal in such conditions is prone to disease. If you replace the earth with other fillers, the moles will be deprived of physical activity, not performing the usual earthworks, and will die from obesity. Feed the mole in captivity is quite difficult. In addition, the animals are very sensitive to the various sounds and vibrations that cause them stress.
The economic value of moles.
Moles are mammals that have beautiful velvety fur. Their skins, although small, are durable and suitable for making outerwear. Mole coats are not the warmest, but wearable and beautiful. Their cost is high. From the 20s to the 80s of the 20th century there was a molehill in the Soviet Union. In fur blanks, the mole occupied the 6th place in the country, and in some regions - the first, for example, in the Urals and in the middle regions of the European part of the country. In large quantities mole skins were harvested in the North-West region. At present, this fishery has lost its economic importance and continues only in small quantities.
The benefits and harm of moles.
Many believe that moles eat plants or gnaw their roots. This opinion is wrong. These animals, on the contrary, benefit by destroying harmful insects, their pupae and larvae, as well as slugs, which feed on leaves, stalks and flowers. Mole eats such pests as wireworm, cockchafer, and medvedka. In addition, moles loosen the soil, arranging a drainage system, which is also useful for the garden. But if the moles breed in the area, then the benefits will grow into harm. In large quantities, these animals can cause significant damage to the agricultural plot. They tear apart flower beds, lawns, paths and undermine plant roots. In addition, their main food is earthworms, which are very useful for soil formation.
Author photo: Rudmer Zwerver
How to get rid of moles on the site or in the garden?
To fight the moles at the dacha, you do not need to destroy their moves, because the animals simply build new ones. So that animals do not cause trouble, they are destroyed, caught or frightened. To do this, there are many ways. Often gardeners practice the destruction of moles using the following tools:
- with the help of all kinds of traps,
- using poisons
- setting dogs and cats
- flood moles.
The traps for the mole can be made by hand, but it is better to buy them in the store so as not to be injured when working with metal parts. Traps and traps are based on various principles of action of their mechanisms:
- Traps acting as spring mousetraps, that is pressing down the victim and interrupting the vertebrae. This device is not inferior in efficiency to others, the difficulty lies only in its installation. These krotolovki put on two, in different directions. They need to be installed and masked so that the pressing part does not cling to the camber when the mechanism is triggered.
- Plunger or harpoon trap quite easy to install on top of the course. When grazing a guard, placed in a tunnel, sharp needles pierce the ground and pierce the animal.
- Scissors trap squeezes the animal from the sides, acting on the principle of scissors. To install, the mole is excavated, the trap is placed on the bottom of the turn and covered with earth.
- Loop trap - wire trap for the mole in the form of a loop, which is placed inside the mole course. Triggering the mechanism chokes the animal in the loop when it crawls through it.
There are various versions of the above traps in a more or less expensive version, and improvised traps - even more. But we must bear in mind that not every person is able to kill a mole, and even more so in such a barbaric way.
- Life traps or tunnel traps. If you want to get rid of moles in the country in a simple way, but do not destroy the animal, you can use other devices - live traps, which help to catch the mole. They can be made independently, using jars, plastic bottles and other cylindrical items, or purchased at the store. The principle of the live trap is that, getting inside the case, the animal can not get back, because the holes are closed by valves that do not have the opposite effect. The animal remains alive, and it just needs to be taken away from its site and released. Such traps need to be checked regularly so that the mole inside it will not die of starvation.
Moles often dig passages through which they get to their prey only once. In order to establish the mole traps, it is necessary to determine which moves the animals use repeatedly, otherwise efforts will be wasted and it will not be possible to catch the mole. These moves are deeper, and the earth is more trampled in them.
Taken from the site: www.ozon.ru
Poison for moles.
Another remedy for moles in the country is poison. But this method of getting rid of animals is not only inhuman, but also unsafe for humans and their environment. In no case can you use poisons in areas where children play! Poison can accidentally get on the skin and cause harm to health. Pets can also accidentally swallow a poison. In addition, for plants at the dacha poisonous substances can be destructive, which will cause irreparable damage to plantings.
More humanely get rid of the moles in the garden, scaring them away. Below are the tools that quite effectively help to fight the moles in the country:
- Noise installations or noisemakers (turntables made of cans, rattles, empty bottles buried in the ground). The fact is that garden moles do not like various noises and vibrations. Based on this, all sorts of devices that make sounds are invented. They can be made independently:
- plastic bottles are used to make a pinwheel, cutting holes in it and bending them in the form of blades. It is placed on a metal pin, which is stuck into the ground to a depth of about 20 cm and transmits the sound of a rattling bottle into it,
- You can also put a can on the pin, which, when the wind blows, will thunder and transmit noise to the earth along the metal pin on which it is located,
- a glass bottle is buried in the ground at an angle in order to use the howling of the wind against moles,
- some even bury their banks with alarm clocks or scatter plastic bottles in the area rattling on contact,
- loud music, the noise of a lawnmower and other agricultural tools will also scare away moles.
- Ultrasonic Mole Repeller.
Ultrasonic repellents, conventional or solar-powered, are devices that make sounds that are inaudible to the human ear and produce vibration in the soil. This is a very effective and effective means of moles, giving the result some time after their installation. Unlike noise devices, they do not annoy people with sounds, look aesthetically pleasing and are easy to handle. They are enough to stick into the ground and turn on. The range of good electronic repeller reaches 15-25 meters. In addition, they help to bring out not only moles from the dacha, but also mice and rats.
You can put special pills or mole balls perfumed with essential oils into mole passages. It is believed that animals are scared away by garlic, hemp, herring heads, rags or tow soaked in kerosene, tar, solvent and other strongly smelling technical fluids. It is necessary to place such "tags" in different parts of the site so that the mole on them is guaranteed to come across. Technical fluids - not the best tool, given the fact that at the dacha there are various planting. But the balls with essential oils do not contain toxic substances at all, they are harmless to insects and last long enough. True, after a heavy rain they lose their properties.
- Mole plants.
Another folk remedy for moles in the country is to scare away the animals with the unpleasant odor of some plants. Moles do not like the smell of such plants as legumes (beans, peas, beans), marigolds, narcissus, Siberian willow, imperial hazel grouse, euphorbia, castor, lavender, calendula, black root, goat, garlic, onion (onion, onion, leek, shallot, chive, decorative allium onion).
- Digging in the ground of metal pieces and shattered animal bones.
Other methods are used to scare away moles, in particular, placing pieces of glass, metal, and bones in the ground. In this case, care must be taken not to hurt himself, stumbled upon such a barrier.
- Grid from moles (underground barrier).
This is the most expensive and time-consuming, but at the same time very effective method of dealing with moles at the dacha. This refers to the fencing of the entire area from where you want to drive away moles, with a metal or plastic small-mesh net. Other materials can be used: slate, tin, concrete, etc. It is necessary to bury such a barrier to a depth of at least 80 cm. It happens that you need to protect lawns and flower beds from moles not only in private garden areas, but also, for example, in public parks. In this case, the grid is buried shallowly, but in a horizontal position, under a guarded area. Also, the grid of moles can be spread on the prepared soil before laying the finished lawn. Thus, the mole simply cannot make holes in it.
What is the difference between a mole and a mole rat?
- Animals belong to different orders: moles - to the order of insectivores, blind-dogs - to the order of rodents.
- Moles are carnivorous and feed mainly on invertebrates (earthworms, beetle larvae). Blind beetles eat the underground parts of plants: roots, tubers, bulbs.
- Blunts dig the ground with large incisors and push it to the surface with their head. Moles dig and push the ground with their front paws.
- Deadheads are larger than moles: their body sizes vary from 13 to 35 cm, and their weight can reach 700 g. The largest mole, the large Moger, weighs 300 g and reaches a length of 21 cm.
- The fur of moles is colored in dark colors: black, dark brown, dark gray and their variations. Blind is much lighter. Gray, yellowish, brownish and ocher tones predominate in their color.
- Moles have a small tail with a length of 2 to 10 cm. The mole rash is rudimentary and not visible from the outside.
- Moles are not blind, in contrast to mole rats. They see, albeit badly. In moles, eyes are small, but only in some species are closed with skin. The eyeballs of the blind are large, but always located under the skin.
- The habitat of moles is wider geographically: moles live in Eurasia and North America, and to forest or forest-steppe zones. Blind spots live in southern and eastern regions of Europe and Western Asia, preferring steppes, deserts and semi-deserts, sometimes forest-steppe.
On the left is a European mole (lat. Talpa europaea), on the right is a mole rat (lat. Spalax microphthalmus). Left photo author: Valery91Thunder, CC-BY-SA. Author photo on the right: Vivan755, CC BY-SA 3.0.
What is the difference between a mole and a shrew?
- Moles live mainly underground. Shrews are terrestrial or semi-aquatic.
- The tail of the shrews is always long and reaches more than 2/3 of the body length. Most moles have a short tail: its length varies from 2 to 10 cm, depending on the type of animal. True, in shrews of moles from the subfamily Uropsilinae, the tail length is equal to the body length.
- Shrews have fewer teeth - from 26 to 32. In moles 34 - 44 teeth, depending on the type of animal.
- The diet of shrews is more diverse than that of moles, feeding mainly on earthworms and insects. Shrews are also insectivorous, but they can also eat lizards, small rodents, carrion, nuts, berries.
- Many moles (with the exception of certain species, for example, the large Moguer) give one litter per year. Shrews can have 2 or 3.
- Moles live in the forest and forest-steppe zones of Eurasia and North America. Shrews are found in Africa and South America. In Eurasia, they are more widespread than moles, inhabiting, in addition to forests and steppes, semi-desert, tundra and forest-tundra zones on the mainland, as well as Sakhalin, Kuril, Japanese, Malay and other islands. They rise above the moles into the mountains, reaching the edge of the glaciers.
On the left there is an ordinary mole (lat. Talpa europaea), on the right there is a shrew (species - common shrew, lat. Sorex araneus). Left photo author: Mark Zekhuis. The author of the photo on the right: Sjonge, Public Domain.
The fact that any mole comes to the dacha regularly, is known to many. But where exactly does it live in nature and what does it eat? You can meet him both in forests and in territories that are located not far from a person’s dwelling: in meadows, vegetable gardens, oak forests, gardens and other green spaces. At the same time, the soil with which the animal deals has to be sufficiently moist, otherwise there will be difficulties in the process of digging the next tunnels. In addition, earthworms and other invertebrates are found in moisture-rich soil. Mole, as a rule, is called an ordinary synanthropus. This animal, though not always lives in the dacha, but is found in close proximity to it.
The presence of it in your territory can be judged primarily by the cone-shaped hills of the earth, which are found in large numbers in the garden or in the garden. This is the land that the animal pushes upward, doing the next turn. The depth of the location of such tunnels varies from 2 to 5 meters. For most of his life, the mole moves along its underground highways and builds new passages. Forces it takes a lot, therefore their active replenishment is commonplace for such an animal. And how to provide energy, if not the constant consumption of various delicacies? Therefore, nutrition for the mole is the most important stage of life.
Food in the forest
If on the summer cottage the mole usually feeds on roots, and not only insects or worms, then in nature these animals are real predators. What feeds a mole in the forest or in the meadow? Their diet includes beetles, flies, wasps, ants and all sorts of larvae, which moles are looking for in the ground. But this list of favorite dishes of this excavator does not end at all. A mole in the forest can even cope with mice, snakes of small sizes, lizards and frogs. If the prey wanders into a predator's underground tunnel, it may soon become its prey. The total weight of food that a mole consumes per day is equal to its weight. All because of the fact that he is constantly in motion, expending a large amount of energy. Another key feature of the forest animal lies in the fact that it drinks a lot of water and is stored up by earthworms for the winter.
Food in gardens and suburban areas
Moles are often found in the garden and there is also some benefit from them. For example, this animal eats medvedok and Khrushchev - garden pests. А вот то, что количество дождевых червей существенно снижается на дачном участке – это тоже заслуга кротов, однако на состоянии огорода она скажется не самым лучшим образом (дождевые черви рыхлят землю и при этом способствуют улучшению урожая, поэтому их активное уничтожение не принесет ничего хорошего).
Что едят кроты на огороде, и каковы же основные причины их появления на садовых участках?
Прежде всего, копать регулярно вспахиваемую землю гораздо проще, ведь она рыхлая, достаточно влажная и для взращивания огородных культур подходит идеально.
This is the favorable environment for the mole. There is always enough food, including earthworms. Moreover, wielding in the garden, these animals remain invisible for much longer, since the earth is loose, it does not need to be pushed to the surface, thus giving out itself. Moles simply press it into the walls of the new tunnels.