Mole Talpa europaea

European Mole Talpa europaea molehill

Molehills are often the only thing you will see of the mole itself. Local field. 2nd August 2020. © Peter Hillman

Family Talpidae

Head & body length 12-17 cm.
Tail length 2-4 cm.
Weight 70-130 g.

We have all seen the bare patches of piled up earth, the molehills, evidence that these shy animals have been around. The mammal itself is rarely seen as it spends most of its life underground. With very strong shovel-like forelimbs with sharp claws, and short, velvety body fur which can lie in either direction, this combination allows the mole to move easily backwards and forwards in its underground tunnels. It has small eyes and a pink pointed snout.

The mole can have quite an elborate tunnel system, with them being multi-tiered, running from just below the surface to down to about 1 m. They can cover several thousand square metres. Moles breed from late February to June, with litters of 3 or 4 pups born in April or May. The tunnel system acts as a pit-fall trap which allows the mole to capture earthworms and insect larvae on which it feeds. It will also eat other invertebrates like centipedes and millipedes, slugs and carrion. It can live for up to 3 years.

Seen all year round, it is found in deciduous woodland, arable fields, grassland and gardens. Common and widespread throughout Britain. Native to Britain.