In shallow holes moles make fools of dragons.

PROVERB

Moles

Moles 


Moles are small mammals that are found all over the world. They are often thought of as garden pests, mainly because of their intricate tunnel systems and the mole hills they leave as they tunnel. Moles are not blind, as most people believe. They do have eyes and internal ears, but these are very small to prevent them being clogged up and damaged during tunnelling. Although they can see, the mole’s eyesight is poor, with no ability to detect colours, just light from dark and movement. In order to help them find other animals underground moles have an area of bare pink skin on the snout covered in tiny pimples that detect movement and the scents of prey and other moles.

Worm Larder


Moles use tunnels to travel, but tunnels are more than just underground highways. Moles dig special chambers at the ends of tunnels that serve as bedrooms and birthing areas. Sometimes moles will live in a series of tunnels for generations before moving.

Moles have larders in tunnel chambers. They eat mostly earthworms which they keep alive and immobilise by biting off their heads, they then store them in the chamber and provide fresh food for several months. As many as 470 worms have been recorded in one chamber, according to the Mammal Society. 

IDA LUPINO

I'd rather work all night and sleep all day... perhaps I was a mole in my last incarnation.

Expert Tunnelers


Moles are highly territorial and solitary; each animal’s territory covers anything up to four football pitches. This solitary life is only relieved for the few hours each spring when they come together to mate, which sometimes happens above ground. For the rest of the year, moles use their 44 teeth to make sure other individuals keep their distance. This feisty individualism is reinforced by female moles: they have evolved a pair of ovaries-cum-testicles that release eggs in the spring and testosterone in the autumn, to boost the aggressive instincts needed to defend their ground. These bi-sex gonads are unique among mammals.

When tunneling female moles build an irregular network, whereas males tunnel in long, straight lines. And moles are no slouches - they can dig 150 feet of new tunnels in a day, the equivalent of a human moving four tons (about 1,000 shovel loads) every twenty minutes. 

Special Powers


Moles can smell in Stereo. They can differentiate when a smell is coming from their left or right to find a worm or another nice bit of food.

Moles’ blood can absorb oxygen much better than most other animals. In their tunnels, the air is about 14.3% oxygen and 5.5% carbon dioxide. That would be enough to make humans unwell and possibly kill them. Above ground, air is around 21% oxygen and only 0.03% carbon dioxide.

ADRIAN MOLE

I have never seen a dead body or a female nipple. This is what comes from living in a cul de sac.

Earth Moles


The word ‘mammoth’ comes from the Estonian meaning ‘earth-mole’. People believed that mammoths were giant moles that lived underground and died on contact with the air, because their remains were often found buried in ice or frozen soil.


In some parts of Siberia, the myth still survives which, sadly, has resulted in newly-discovered specimens being destroyed as unlucky. 

Blowing Bubbles


Star-nosed moles smell underwater by blowing bubbles out of their nose and then quickly re-inhaling them. They blow and sniff roughly five to 10 times per second 

At least one of a mole's tunnels will come out by a ditch or pond so it can access drinking water.

If a mole goes without a meal for eight hours, it dies.

According to British folk law, carrying a mole's feet in your pocket will protect you against cramp and rheumatism.

In the 19th century, plumbers also used moleskin for drying pipe joints.

Moles have no necks.

Molehills consist of exceptionally fine soil and are traditionally prized by gardeners as the ideal seed-sowing compost.

Naked mole rats are closer relations to porcupines, chinchillas, and guinea pigs than they are to moles or rats.

The mole's velvety, waterproof fur can point in any direction so they can run backwards through tunnels, using their tails for navigation.

To prevent the tooth-ache, a popular 19th century method was to tie a dead mole around the neck.

There are no moles in Ireland.