The Life of Moles: Habits, Diet, and Habitat

Meet the moles, small mammals known for their subterranean lifestyle and excellent digging skills. They primarily feed on invertebrates like earthworms and grubs.

Meet the moles, small mammals that belong to the family Talpidae.

These critters are known for their subterranean lifestyle, making homes and hunting for food in complex tunnel systems.

The underground is their habitat of choice, which is why they have evolved to become excellent diggers.

Moles have velvety fur that helps them navigate their underground corridors, and their very small eyes and ears are adapted to a life spent mostly out of sight.

Despite their tiny eyes, moles are not blind; they can still differentiate between light and dark.

A mole digs tunnels in the earth, surrounded by roots and soil
Body WeightOn average, a mole weighs around 70 to 120 grams.
Size & LengthThey measure from 4.4 to 6.25 inches in length.
TailMoles have short tails that help maintain balance.

A mole’s forelimbs are wide and powerful, designed for digging.

They often work alone to create intricate habitats that include nurseries and food storage areas.

While their primary diet consists of earthworms, they’re not adverse to other invertebrates and small animals they encounter underground.

So the next time you see a molehill, reflect on the busy life of these fascinating animals, living their best life beneath our feet.

Diet and Prey

A mole burrows underground, hunting for insects and worms to eat.</p><p>Its sharp claws and keen sense of smell help it find prey

Moles have a specialized diet that matches their unique lifestyle beneath the ground.

They primarily consume invertebrates and soil-dwelling organisms, relying on a keen sense of touch and smell to locate their food.

Hunting Techniques

Moles are solitary hunters, utilizing their powerful forelimbs to tunnel through the soil in search of food.

As they move, they create a network of foraging tunnels.

Their tunnels are not just homes but also traps for their prey, as invertebrates fall into these passages.

Moles are also known to locate their prey by sensing the vibrations through the ground.

Common Prey

Moles’ diet is rich in invertebrates and includes a variety of earthworms, grubs, and insects.

These creatures constitute a significant part of a mole’s diet:

  • Earthworms: A mainstay in their diet, providing nutrition and moisture.
  • Insects: They help to control garden pests naturally.
  • Grubs: Found among soil and roots.
  • Invertebrates: Enrich the mole’s diet with essential proteins.

Some studies, like the one on the diet and prey selection of the southern marsupial mole, show that moles are opportunistic feeders and will adjust their diet based on the availability of prey.

Another interesting fact about moles is that despite their underground lifestyle, they rarely consume plant material, primarily feeding on animals they find within their tunnels.

Habitat and Distribution

Moles are fascinating creatures that have adapted to a variety of habitats across the globe.

In North America, these subterranean mammals prefer moist loamy soils where they can easily tunnel.

They are commonly found in grasslands, woodlands, and landscaped areas such as gardens and lawns, where their digging is often a point of contention for gardeners.

The European mole, a native to Europe and parts of Asia, thrives in similar habitats.

Rich in earthworms—their primary food source—these areas provide the perfect environment for moles to exercise their burrowing prowess.

Interestingly, the presence and abundance of European moles in urban habitats can be influenced by greenspace areas, outlining the adaptable nature of these creatures.

In Asia, the range of certain mole species can extend to regions with diverse environments, from wetlands to high-altitude grasslands.

Some moles in this region showcase a unique resilience by inhabiting areas with less water and light availability, demonstrating their remarkable evolutionary adaptations.

However, moles aren’t just limited to terrestrial environments.

Some species have adapted to life in close proximity to water sources.

These areas provide the moisture needed for their tunnels and the rich invertebrate diet moles crave.

The wide distribution of moles and their varying habitats show just how adaptable and essential these animals are to the ecosystem.

While they might not always be the most welcome guests in backyards, their role in soil aeration and pest control is a fascinating aspect of their lives largely unseen by the human eye.