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eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus aquaticus)

Distribution Map

Distribution Map

Characteristics

The eastern mole is large, measuring approximately 6-7 inches in length and can be distinguished by large, wide, almost hairless forepaws. The tail is short, round, scantily haired, and less than 1/4th their total length. The nose is elongated into a distinct snout. The eyes are small with no external opening, and external ears are not present. The fur is dense, silky, colored from black to silver. They have 1 litter per year, usually in March or April with 2-5 young per litter. The life expectancy of the eastern mole can be as long as six years. The home range of the males is 1.09 hectares, and the female home range is considerably smaller. The tunnels are either surface runways approximately 2-3 cm deep (ridges are used primarily for food collection), or deep permanent passages (10-40 cm deep) used for living quarters. They are active day and night in burrows, all seasons. During colder weather they may use one nest site for inactive periods yet communal 'main runs' do exist.

Distribution

This species is abundant throughout the eastern half of state and at lower altitudes in the western portion. They are most common in grassy fields, meadows, pastures, lawns and forest floors. They require well drained sandy soils which have a low rock and clay content. Highly acidic soils are avoided because the necessary food sources are not available.

Foods

This species has a voracious appetite, with the daily food consumption 25-100% of the body weight. It feeds mainly on earthworms but eats all types of insects and insect larvae as well as some plant material.

More Information

For more information, please visit the Virginia Fish & Wildlife Information Service (direct link to species booklet).