Mole

©Steve Bottom

Mole

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Scientific name: Talpa europaea
The brown humps of earth that can decorate a lawn are the work moles. This stocky, brown mammal spends its life burrowing underground with its spade-like paws, hunting for earthworms to eat.

Top facts

Stats

Length: 15cm (plus a 4cm tail) Weight: 70-130g Average lifespan: 3-4 years

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

Moles are very rarely seen as they spend most of their lives underground. They are stocky animals, with a wedge-shaped body and short tail. They use their spade-like paws to dig tunnels and hunt for their favourite meal of earthworms. They also like to eat underground grubs that would usually feed off crops, so moles can help to control unwanted visitors!
By digging up the earth, moles help make the soil healthier by aerating it. This allows more types of plants to grow, which in turn feed more insects. Not only this, their tunnels improve soil drainage, which helps stop flooding and huge puddles forming on the ground.
Moles truly are the unsung heroes of the animal world!

What to look for

The mole is unmistakable. It is a stocky little animal, covered in black, velvety fur, with tiny eyes, a long, pink nose and two big, shovel-like 'hands' for front paws. You might be more likely to spot mole hills (the piled-up earth from their burrowing) than the moles themselves.

Where to find

Widespread, but absent from the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly, Scottish islands, the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland.

Did you know?

A mole can dig up to 20 metres of tunnel in a day using its spade-like forepaws to effectively breaststroke its way through the soil. Every now and again, loose soil is pushed up to the surface, resulting in what we see as a mole hill.

The mole's velvety coat helps it to move easily through the soil, and its mouth and nose are protected from debris by their down-facing position.

How people can help

Tarmacking and increasing numbers of hard surfaced gardens mean that moles are being pushed out of their natural habitats. Why not help green up the grey by making your garden a home for wildlife

Thousands of birds, insects and other animals across England are finding it harder and harder to survive. Can you help create a Wilder Future for them?