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Eastern Mole

Solitary creatures of the underground world, eastern moles are the only mole species that inhabits Colorado.  Activity is primarily restricted to the eastern plains where soil is thick, pliable and bonds well enough to support tunnel systems while promoting the presence of food sources such as earthworms, cutworms, grubs and other insects.  A single mole can consume more than 140 grubs and cutworms in a day totaling approximately half their body weight.  Contrary to what many people believe, moles are not rodents.  Eastern moles poses velvety silver to grey fur with a torpedo shaped body.  Their eyes are useful for telling light from dark, but not for sight.  Senses of hearing, smell and touch are well defined in moles.  Their piggish snouts and tails are extremely sensitive and assist them in maneuvering through their tunnel systems.  Front legs contain short front feet that are held palm-side facing outward to aide in propelling them through tunnels much the way a swimmer moves under water.

Breeding occurs in late winter to spring and young are born roughly 5 weeks later.  Single annual litters average four to five young.  Moles experience rapid growth and development and are weaned 4-6 weeks after birth.  Mole damage includes mounding of dirt excavated from tunnel systems, inadvertent damage to plant roots due to tunneling and softening of ground in areas of tunnel collapse.  Raised tunnels under sod commonly occur as moles travel beneath the surface in their hunt for food.  Moles are diurnal, meaning they are active both day and night, alternating their waking and sleeping periods.

Aside from their obvious insectivorous benefits, mole activity also promotes beneficial activities within soil.  Increasing aeration, mixing soil layers to distribute minerals while increasing depth of penetration by moisture are all benefits of mole activity; however, disfiguring of lawn and landscaped areas often causes moles to be less than welcomed guests.  Trapping as well as baiting methods of control typically provide relief of mole activity, especially when utilized in combination with insecticidal treatment of the lawn to decrease food sources that may attract additional mole activity.