Gardeners obsessed with perfect lawn are declaring war against them. Is that the reason why these little diggers are hiding underground? Mysterious and rarely seen moles are ruling underground kingdom.
What are they doing underground?
One of the most fascinating detail about moles live is that
we basically know only a few details about them. It is hard to observe them
since they are spending almost all their live underground digging complex cave
systems. What we know for sure – it is a great ecological adaptation to do not
get eaten by predators such as foxes, hawks, wolves and dogs since they suck at
digging compared to moles.
Moles can tolerate much higher concentrations of carbon
dioxide because of the unique shape of blood cells. It allows them to spend
most of the time in stuffy tunnels which they are designing by themselves. Moreover, front feet of moles are unique. They have an extra thumb which allows them dig fast and dig efficiently. A lot of people think that moles are adapted to be blind. Even though they little eyes are in no use under the ground, they can see the difference between light and dark. What is more, it helps them to do not miss when the day length is long enough to mate. Moles usually mating in spring.
What moles are eating for dinner?
Moles love to eat earthworms. However, there are much more living creatures underground: larvae, beetles, grubs, slugs and small insects. Moles are not particularly pick eaters and feed on whatever they find in their way. It is a myth that moles feed on vegetables. They do not eat plant-based food. A lot of gardeners blame moles for eating their carrots or potatoes but the true is that they are digging so well that rodents as mice and voles prefer using moles tunnels. Safe from outside predators’ mice and voles are successfully feeding on delicious underground vegetables.
Moles do not dig randomly. They are great underground engineers: their tunnel system has a special place for eating, nesting, logistics and even underground farming. These little fury digging buddies are poisonous! They are producing a toxin which allows them to paralyze earthworms and keep them alive for a prolonged period. As a result, moles can farm half-alive earthworms underground, store them in a special place and have an easy, health and fresh snack whatever they want.
Nightmare of gardeners
Even though gardeners hate both tunnels and hills of dirt they are leaving behind, moles play a great role in soil formation. Air is flowing through their tunnel system and it is improving growth of roots of plants. Next time when you see an angry gardener accidentally spilling all watering can to moles tunnel system or cursing moles because of the damage made for a perfect lawn, please calmly inform him that moles is generously improving an aeration of his plants root system.
Moreover, moles are great hunters not only of earthworms but also of grubs, mole crickets and a lot of other species of insects and their larvae. As a result, they are helping to get rid of these pests and gardeners can avoid using insecticides.
However, there is a never-ending struggle between perfect-lawn-obsessed gardeners and moles. Some of tools used for moles control are non-ethical and bizarre (as mole traps, poisons and etc.). However, each time you get mad at mole for ruining your perfect garden, I would recommend you think that he made it not on purpose to tease you.