From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Moles are members of the family (Talpidae) of mammals in the order Insectivora that live underground, burrowing holes. Some species are aquatic or semi-aquatic. They have cylindrical bodies covered in fur with small or covered eyes; the ears are generally not visible. They feed on small invertebrate animals living under ground. Moles can be found in North America, Europe and Asia.
The family is divided into three subfamilies:
- Desmaninae (desmans)
- Talpinae (moles)
- Uropsilinae (shrew moles)
Male moles are called boars, females are called sows. A group of moles is called a labour.
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-02/vu-mmg013105.php describes how the Star-nosed Mole can detect, catch and eat food faster than the human eye can follow (under 300 milliseconds).
Moles are considered to be an agricultural pest in some countries, while in others such as Germany they are a protected species. Problems caused are cited as contamination of silage with soil particles making it unpalatable to animals, the covering of pasture with fresh soil reducing its size and yield , damage to agricultural machinery by the exposure of stones, damage to young plants through disturbance of the soil, weed invasion of pasture through exposure of fresh tilled soil, and damage to drainage systems and watercourses. Other species such as weasels and voles may use mole tunnels to gain access to enclosed areas or plant roots.
Moles that burrow in the lawns of humans can disturb the earth, raising molehills and causing enough aesthetic problems to be considered as pests. They do however benefit the soil by aerating and tilling it, adding to its fertility. Contrary to popular belief, moles don't eat plant roots.
They are controlled with traps and poisons such as calcium carbide and strychnine.
Moles are considered to be a very dirty, smelly and filthy animal in India. The Hindi word for a mole, viz., छछुन्दर / tʃʰətʃʰund̪ər /, when used for a man, implies a very filthy and cowardly person.
Other similar animals are found in family Chrysochloridae, the golden moles, also in order Insectivora, and family Notoryctidae, the marsupial moles, which are not related to true moles.
There are also similar-looking but herbivorous rodents called mole-rats that lead a similar life-style and are commonly called "moles", although, unlike mole-rats, no species of true mole is known to be eusocial.
- Contrary to what many believe, moles do not hibernate. Having to eat their own body weight daily, their metabolism will not allow them to store fat. As the surface of the ground gets cold, their food source goes deeper -- so does the mole.
- Even though the soft mole is considered to be small and helpless, it is said to have caused the death of William III of England in 1702, when he fell from his horse after it stumbled over a mole hill.
- Many types of earth-burrowing machines take their names from moles.
- An adult mole has 44 teeth, one of the largest number for a terrestrial mammal.
- Dogs have been known to dig moles out of the ground and bite them to death.
- One of British comedian Jasper Carrott's sketches involves him trying to get rid of a mole that had moved into to his garden, at one point, as he described, trying to use a shotgun, a swirling chair, and a torch.
- Also the nickname of popular entertainer/rock keyboardist Joel Pearson (Still Existing)
- "Hole Moles" is a comic strip by University of Houston student Austin Havican. The two characters are moles; The Pessimist and The Optimist, respectively, www.holemoles.com.
- UK Government DEFRA paper on control the European Mole
- Flickr Moles and Voles