- Category: Mole
- Created: Wednesday, 07 December 2016 16:04
Moles of every species have certain common physical characteristics because of their underground lifestyle. Living underground requires certain senses more than others. For example you will hard pressed to find moles with good vision. Their eyes are very small and covered with a layer of skin followed by a layer of fur. The same goes for their ears only more extreme; they do not have any external parts to them and the ear canal/opening is covered with fur.
The fur of these animals is also conducive to the dirt filled underground world in which they live. It is very fine and short with a flat shaft. Perhaps the most interesting trait of the mole’s fur is that it can lie flat facing frontwards or backwards. The direction depends on the direction the animal is moving at that particular time.
Diggers by nature moles have distinctive features to assist them during their travels that vary by species. The Eastern, Hairy-Tailed, Coast, Star-Nosed, Broad-Footed and Townsend’s Moles have forepaws that are oriented sideways whereas the American Shrew Mole has feet that face front. In all varieties the paws are wider than long and are webbed. The Broad-Footed Mole has, as its name hints to, has a wider foot than the other varieties. All of the North American mole species have sharp outward facing claws atop their front and rear feet that are narrower and longer than the front. In fact, the Chehalis Indian word for mole literally means "hands turned backward".
The most common, and most well known physical feature of the mole is the long slender snout. This snout is normal hairless and in the case of the Eastern Mole extends about ½ inch in front of the mouth.
The Eastern Mole will reach an average total length of seven (7) inches including a one and a quarter (1 ¼) inch tail. The weight of the Eastern Mole is about four (4) ounces.
The Star-Nosed mole has a very unique physical characteristic that, according to experts, is not known to present on any other mammal in world, a star nose! This nose consists of 22 appendages surrounding its nostrils. They have recently determined that these “fingers” are actually sensitive organs used to manipulate objects.