EASTERN MOLE – Scalopus aquaticus


Eastern mole facts: Eastern moles are shiny grayish, occasionally black, moles with very large, clawed, shovel-like front feet that are well-suited for digging. A typical adult, which has a short tail, may be 5.9 to 7.9 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) long and weigh 3.2 to 5.0 ounces (90 to 143 grams).

Geographic range: Eastern moles are found in the eastern United States, far southern Canada, and far northern Mexico.

Eastern mole habitat: Eastern moles live much of their lives underground in good soils in forests or grasslands.

What do moles eat: Eastern moles eat mostly grubs and earthworms, but also centipedes and slugs. If they come across a root or seed during their tunneling, they will also eat those.

Behavior and reproduction: Eastern moles spend much of their time alone, making shallow tunnels in search of food. They also make deeper, living chambers. Their below-ground life protects them from most predators, although dogs, cats and other large digging mammals will sometimes root out a mole. Rarely, when a mole pops out of its tunnel, a nearby owl or snake will attack it. Moles mate once a year in early spring—a bit earlier in warmer areas and later in cooler climates—and build a nest in an underground chamber. About a month and a half afterward, the mother gives birth to a litter of three to five young. They stay with her for four to five weeks, and are ready to become parents themselves by the following spring.

Eastern moles and people: Most people are familiar with eastern moles from their mole runs, which are visible above the ground and often considered unsightly. Moles will also eat some crop roots, so they are sometimes considered pests. Homeowners, gardeners, and farmers frequently try various methods to rid their yards and fields of the moles.

Conservation status: Eastern moles are not threatened.