The Common Mole of the Eastern United States Page: 4
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FARMERS' BULLETIN 583.
It is commonly believed that the mole works only at regular peri-
ods each day, but direct observations taken in late summer and in
the fall fail to show that there is any one time of day when it is more
active than at others.
If a slight opening is made into a mole's runway the little ani-
mal will invariably repair the breach (fig. 2) when it next comes
that way. By taking advantage of this habit one can gain much
information by visiting, at short intervals through the day, each of
a number of runs in which a small break has been made. In an ex-
periment by the writer 50 runs were thus kept under observation for
periods of several days at a time with results indicating that moles
are as likely to be found at work one hour. of the day or night as
As to seasonal activity, it may be said that moles are probably
never dormant, that they never hibernate. They may be trapped at
any time of the year when the ground is not frozen too hard to pre-
vent the working of the trap. It must be understood, however, that
extension of surface runways occurs mainly at times when soil con-
ditions are favorable-after rains in the summer or during periods
of thawing in the winter. At other times the mole may secure his
food by retraversing his old runs or by working at depths unaffected
by frost or drought. Movements of soil-inhabiting worms, insects,
and larvae tend to bring ever fresh supplies of food into the moles'
NATURAL ENEMIES AND CHECKS.
By reason of its secluded life the mole is little subject to attacks
by the many foes of other sml mammals. Its burrow is so small
that no formidable enemies except weasels or snakes can follow in the
passageways, and as it seldom leaves these there is little chance of
its being seen by predatory animals. However, the movement of
the soil when a mole is working near the surface may readily be de-
tected by a watchful foe, and it is probable that hungry foxes and
coyotes secure a tidbit now and then by springing suddenly upon a
disturbed spot of earth and hurriedly digging out the furry little
miner. On the other hand there is evidence that moles are distaste-
ful to some animals, for they are seldom eaten by domestic cats and
dogs which have learned to catch them. A peculiarly disagreeable
odor attaching to the mole may account for its not being relished by
the carnivora. It is quite likely, also, that the dense, soft fur is
objectionable to some animals.
Among the birds of prey hawks and owls take small toll from the
mole tribe. An examination of the stomach contents of over 2,000
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Scheffer, Theodore H. The Common Mole of the Eastern United States, pamphlet, 1914; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc85793/m1/4/: accessed January 17, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.