GRANT’S DESERT GOLDEN MOLE – Eremitalpa granti

GRANTS DESERT GOLDEN MOLE

Grant’s golden mole facts: One of the smallest golden moles, this species reaches only about 3.0 to 3.3 inches (7.6 to 8.8 centimeters) in body length and weighs 0.5 to 1.0 ounces (15 to 32 grams). On its back, it has long, shiny, light-gray fur that is sometimes tinged with yellow. Its underside fur is lighter and yellowish. Grant’s desert golden mole has three long claws on each forelimb, although they aren’t as hefty as the claws in some other golden mole species.

Geographic range: South Africa and the Namib Desert in extreme southwestern Africa.

Grant’s golden mole diet habitat: Coastal sand dunes, typically areas with some dune grass, are its preferred habitat.

Grant’s golden mole diet: Its diet consists of various invertebrates, such as spiders, termites, beetles, and ants, that it hunts at night. When the opportunity presents itself, these moles will also eat kill and eat lizards, some of which may be as long as the mole.

Behavior and reproduction: Active at night, it will venture above ground in search of prey, sometimes covering as much as 3.6 miles (5.8 kilometers) in a single twenty-four-hour period. It spends its days in shallow burrows. Interestingly, this species doesn’t maintain a constant body temperature during the day. Instead, its body becomes cooler or warmer with the temperature of the sand around it.

In breeding season, the females will crawl into deeper tunnels that may lie 6 feet (1.8 meters) or more beneath the surface, where it gives birth to and raises typically one or two offspring. As soon as the youngsters are old enough to survive alone, the mother forces them out of her nest. Although details about behavior are lacking, scientists believe that males may mate with more than one female, and therefore father numerous young with different females. Outside of breeding season, adult moles live alone and have little contact with other adults.

Grant’s desert golden moles and people: Since this is a desert species that lives in sand dunes away from most people, it has little impact on humans.

Conservation status: The IUCN lists the Grant’s golden mole as Vulnerable. Dune removal and diamond mining are destroying the habitat within the limited range of this animal, but efforts are under way to create a national park, which will protect at least part of the mole’s range.