(Talpa europaea) Size: 121-159 – 26-40mm tail Weight: 87-128g Lifespan: max. normally 3 years in the wild
Identification: Short black velvety fur – cylindrical body – heavily clawed spade-like forefeet. The eyes are minute and well-hidden. Pink fleshy snout and short tail (usually carried erect). General: Although not at all rare, moles are very rarely seen above ground – a lot of patience is needed to see this very elusive mammal. Evidence of their presence is however very easy to see – molehills abound in deciduous woodland, arable fields and permanent pasture. Temporary surface tunnels may be formed when a new area is being colonised, but the normal underground burrow systems are only evident from the lines of molehills formed during a night’s digging. The animal is very specialised for living underground – the body is cylindrical and the forelimbs are highly adapted for digging, including an extra bone (a ‘sixth finger’) to increase the surface area of the hand. The hind Molehills limbs also have a ‘sixth toe’ to broaden the foot and help brace the body against the tunnel walls while digging. They tunnel up to about 1m deep where the soil is suitable. The main diet consists of earthworms plus a variety of beetles, insect larvae, centipedes, millipedes, slugs and snails. Distribution - UK: Widespread throughout the UK up to an altitude of c 1000m with a population of approximately 30 million.