Eastern Mole

The eastern mole ranges from Wyoming and S. Dakota in the north and west to Texas and Florida in the south. There is also a smaller, isolated population in Mexico. This mole needs to dig its burrows in soil that is relatively free of large roots and rocks, so it avoids thick forest and stony ground, preferring areas of moist sandy or loamy soils. When it burrows, the eastern mole thrusts its front limbs forward, then pulls them outward and back to force the loose dirt out of the way.

The size of this species varies according to geographical location. The largest moles live in the north-east, in areas such as New England, while the smallest individuals are generally found in the south-west, notably Texas.

Most of the eastern mole's diet consists of earthworms, although it will eat adult and larval insects as well as roots. Being a large insectivore, the mole needs to consume just a quarter of its bodyweight in food each day - far less than smaller insectivore species. Eastern moles find their food using their sense of smell and by detecting vibrations in the floor and walls of their tunnels made by the movements of prey. The eyes are light-sensitive, even though they cannot form images, so the moles can at least tell when they break the surface.

Distribution: Eastern and central United States and southern Canada.

Habitat: Fields, meadows and open woodland.

Food: Earthworms, insects and roots.

Size: 11 - 17 cm (4.25 - 6.75 in); 32 - 140 g (1.25 - 5oz).

Maturity: 1 year.

Breeding: One litter of 2 - 5 young produced per year; the breeding season is from March to April in most of the range, but begins in January in the south.

Life span: 3 years.

Status: Common.