The Common Mole of the Eastern United States Page: 5
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THE COMMON MOLE OF THE EASTERN UNITED STATES.
of these birds disclosed the remains of but 13 moles.' Five of these
had been eaten by the red-tailed hawk, four by the red-shouldered
hawk, and one each by the broad-winged hawk, the barred owl, the
great gray owl, and the screech owl. Of 3,005 skulls of small mam-
mals found in pellets disgorged by the barn owl, only two were of the
Occasional or periodical floods which spread over lowlands ad-
joining streams constitute one of the greatest checks on the inordi-
nate increase of moles. During these inundations numbers of moles
may be found clinging to drift masses lodged against various obstruc-
tions.' Even though these individuals survive, their young have
probably perished in the nests, for it is in the breeding season that
the freshets commonly occur.
Judging from the facts presented under the preceding heading,
it would appear that the mole may be a comparatively slow breeder
and still maintain its normal numbers from year to year. Such
we find to be the case. From observations taken in the Middle West
it was learned that the little animal breeds but once a year and that
the number of young at a birth averages about four. These are
produced in March or early April. Development after birth is
comparatively rapid, for young found in the nest still hairless had
already attained one-third the weight of the adults. Furthermore,
young moles trapped in the fall are almost fully grown.
It is interesting to note that the mole is not permitted to enjoy
undisputed occupancy of the underground galleries which his industry
has constructed. Certain other small mammals, particularly shrews,
voles or meadow mice, and sometimes ordinary house mice, find these
tunnels convenient byways for marauding. As a result of this tres-
passing the reputation of the mole suffers, for most of the injury to
seed grains, tubers, and roots of cultivated plants is directly charge-
able to these intruding rodents. A study of tooth marks on the
damaged products will bear out this statement.
The food habits of moles have been the subject of much discussion,
but considering the multiplied evidence of digestive tract, dentition,
stomach contents, and choice of food when in captivity, it must be
I See "Hawks and Owls of the United States in their Relation to Agriculture," by Dr. A. K. Fisher.
U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, Division of Ornithology and Mammalogy, Bull. 3, 1893.
349090-Bull. 583-14 2
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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/m1/5/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.