Facts About Moles – All That You Should Know
Did you know that Moles are some of nature’s smallest mammals? This and other very interesting facts about Moles along with other intriguing details about them! You might have seen them digging up your lawn in the springtime. With velvety black fur, small eyes, and cylindrical-shaped bodies, these animals are some of the most recognizable creatures in the world.
They feed on earthworms and tiny insects that live in the soil, and while humans might consider them pests, moles are some of the most important creatures in the ecosystem.
In this article, we’re going to take you through a list of interesting facts about moles, from the fact that they can breathe underground and have extra thumbs to the fact that their sensory powers help them when hunting.
Let’s get right into it!
Basic Moles Facts
Moles come under the family which is known as Talpidae. This family consists of around 17 species of true moles and animals that are considered their close relatives.
Given below is the scientific classification of moles:
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Soricomorpha
- Family: Talpidae
- Subfamily: Scalopinae
The Latin name for moles is Talpidae, which, when simply translated, means “mole.”
Moles are small and dark animals. They have short limbs and cylindrical bodies. Their fur is dense, dark grey or dark brown in color, short, and feels similar to velvet. One of their most noticeable and easily recognizable features are their snouts, which are tubelike, red in color, and extremely sensitive. Moles also have tiny eyes and ears that cannot be easily seen from far away, and they have elongated heads.
Common Types of Moles
Some of the most common types of moles are:
- Star-nosed moles
- Hairy-tailed moles
- Blind mole
- Broad-footed mole
- European mole
Size and Weight
The average mole is relatively small and is usually somewhere between four and seven inches long. Moles generally weigh anywhere from 70 to 130 grams.
Habitat and Range
Even though many people think that moles only live in dry dirt, they are often found in various habitats. These include woodlands, wetlands, swamps, dunes, and even grasslands.
While these animals are quite small, they often hold quite a large range of land, with some moles inhabiting around two acres of land.
The average mole is an omnivore, consuming a diet that includes insects and plants. The insect portion of a mole’s diet mainly consists of earthworms and other insects and invertebrates that live in the soil. However, studies have shown that moles also eat certain types of fungi and plant matter found in the ground.
The average lifespan can be anywhere between three and six years.
8 Interesting Facts about Moles
Here is a list of eight interesting facts about moles.
Moles have extra thumbs
Each of the two front paws or forepaws of the mole has one extra thumb. This is because the mole’s forepaws are polydactyl, which simply means that it has an extra digit. The extra thumb is also called a prepollex and is located right next to the mole’s normal thumb.
The extra thumb has only one bone and no joints, unlike the other fingers in a mole’s paw. This thumb grows and develops very differently during the process of embryogenesis. First, it starts out as a sesamoid bone in the wrist, then grows into prepollex.
It’s important to note that this extra thumb is specific to the mole species, and isn’t found in other related species, like the shrew.
Moles can breathe underground
It’s no secret that moles love to dig holes and tunnel deep in the earth. However, you might have wondered how moles stay underneath the soil for so long without suffocating and needing to come up for air. The reason that moles can remain under the ground for long periods of time is that they can tolerate a larger amount of carbon dioxide than many other mammals, thanks to a special kind of hemoglobin present in their red blood cells.
Hemoglobin exists in the body to carry oxygen from the lungs to the organs and tissues and then carries carbon dioxide from various parts of the body back to the lungs. Since moles spend so much of their time underground in an environment with less oxygen, their special red blood cells allow them to reuse their inhaled oxygen and survive underground for a longer time.
They are solitary creatures
Unlike elephants or coyotes, moles are solitary creatures who prefer to burrow underground and dig tunnels independently. They dig and live in elaborate tunneled networks.
Moles also hunt for food alone and only socialize with female moles during mating season. Baby moles mature pretty fast, and a month after they are weaned, they leave the nest and continue to live as solitary creatures.
Moles eat about 65-70% of their body weight
Even though these creatures are pretty tiny, they eat a lot of earthworms every day, roughly 70% of their whole body weight. This is why they spend most of their time underground because they hunt for food.
A mole’s saliva can paralyze an earthworm.
When a mole catches an earthworm, it bites the earthworm, which becomes paralyzed due to a toxin in the mole’s saliva. Then, the mole stores the earthworms and eats them later.
Moles have dense fur
While some animals have thick fur that lies flat, moles have upright fur. The reason for this is so that when a mole burrows through the soil, the soil won’t stick to its coat and slow down the mole from digging.
They can dig very fast
Even though moles cannot run very fast, they can dig extremely fast! Moles have been known to dig more than 65 feet into the earth, and they can even dig for more than 14 hours a day.
Moles do not taste good
While moles aren’t typically a type of creature that humans would eat, it has been reported by a few people that mole meat tastes disgusting. William Buckland, a geologist, and paleontologist, famously known for eating all types of animals said that mole meat tastes awful!
In this article, we first took you through a brief explanation of some basic facts about moles. After that, we took you through eight interesting facts about moles! Moles are some of the most exciting creatures on the planet, with unique physical features and skills. We hope you use us as a source!