Mole


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The European mole

The only mole species found in Central Europe is the European Mole (Talpa europaea). Like the hedgehog and the shrew, the mole is one of the insect eaters. Except during the mating season, the mole is an absolute loner. The animals usually become three to five years old. The name comes from the Middle High German word "moltwerf", which means "earthlayer" and refers to the molehills, which creates the mammal when creating its aisles.These spoil heaps and their cause are unpopular with many garden owners - although the mole actually a very As the mole is under protection of species, fighting is prohibited, but nonetheless there are some ways to successfully expel the animal from the garden.

Appearance

A compact body, big grave hands with long toes, barely visible eyes and a coat of fine wool hair - these are the characteristics of the mole, which equip him perfectly for life in the earth. Typical of the 12 to 15 centimeters small mammal with the two to five centimeters long tail are his hands turned into grave scoops. With outward-facing palms and five toes, he shovels his ways free, while his stocky body moves while rotating forward. The loosened earth pushes it backwards out of the corridors to the earth's surface, causing the unpopular molehills in the garden.
In order to be able to move more easily through the narrow passages of the earth or to be able to do a backward roll, his gray-black coat has no stroke. Moles smell and hear very well and perceive the finest vibrations via their pen palms. Her eyes are less well-trained and can only distinguish bright and dark. Blind - as many assume because of the popular saying - are not moles. Their highly sensitive, trunk-like snout with the facial hair and excellent hearing are ideal for detecting earthworms and grubs in the dark building. These are much more helpful in orienting and perceiving vibrations than a keen eye. With its 44 pointed teeth, the carnivore can dissect his prey.
Mature moles weigh up to 120 grams. They often move 20 times their body weight when digging the aisles. In order to get enough oxygen even under the earth, the mole's blood can bind twice as much as that of an equally large above-ground mammal.

Lifestyle and habitat

That the mole is rarely seen, is because the semi-blind animal hunts and lives in its underground passage system and rarely leaves this habitat. Due to his physique and sensory organs, he is perfectly adapted to life underground. He is both day and night active and does not hibernate. At intervals of four to five hours, he switches from rest to activity.

Cross section of a gangway system

In addition to a pantry and a nest are in the corridor system numerous hunting and ventilation aisles

Originally, moles were only found in forest soils, but today they can be found in all loose and not too dry soils and lawns with sufficient nutritional content. The underground passage system is always the same: it consists of a living room padded with grasses and leaves, which also serves as a nest, as well as near-surface running and hunting paths. Furthermore, there are ventilation ducts that lead almost vertically upwards. Often the mole lays underground more than a kilometer of distance per day.
The extent of the corridors differs according to gender: the tunnel system of a female usually does not cover more than 2,000 square meters of space. Males are much more active and often cover an area of ​​6,000 square meters with their aisles. In winter, moles migrate to deeper soil layers. As soon as the ground thaws again, they seem to be particularly active, since most of the prey is then in the upper soil layers.
If absolutely necessary, moles can overcome streams and ponds through innate buoyancy. However, the shy loners only do this in exceptional cases when a new habitat needs to be found.

food

worms

Earthworms are high on the menu of moles

Despite its bad reputation, the presence of a mole in the garden has its advantages. The animal is an important and above all extremely voracious vermin. Since the mole is very active, it needs about 20 to 50 grams of food every day - nearly half of its own body weight. If he has to live without food for more than 12 to 24 hours, he starves to death.Mainly the mole feeds on earthworms, but not all are eaten immediately. In part, moles paralyze the worms with a bite and then store them in their pantries alive until consumed. With these supplies, they can get through the winter, during which the food supply is lower. In addition there are insects and small snails as well as the larvae of the weevil-weevil, cockchafer and meadow-snake, which he finds in the hunting-walks, on the menu of the mole. He completely avoids garden plants.

Mating and offspring

Moles live mostly as loners. Even males and females fight each other at the first encounter. Mating season is in the spring. Then the females ready to conceive reveal their locations by snarling sounds and the males leave their territory for a short time. After about four weeks of gestation, the females give birth to three to six nude boys, who are nursed for two months, become sexually mature after six months and fully mature after twelve months. Depending on the weather, up to two litters per year are possible. As already mentioned, the life expectancy of a mole is about three to five years. However, many young animals are victims of predators if they are expelled from the maternal construction and move aboveground in search of their own territory.

Natural enemies

The mole has many natural enemies, such as buzzards, barn owls, gray herons, foxes, stone martens, weasels, weasels and polecats. As it seldom comes to the earth's surface, it is well protected from them. Only the little mouse weasel occasionally enters the mole building. Dogs and cats also catch and kill moles, but do not eat them. As young animals search for new habitats very early on and can not move very fast on the earth's surface, unfortunately, they also often become victims of road traffic. Those who have many moles or voles in the garden, should provide shelter for predators, for example, cairns, woody hedges or harbors for birds of prey. Thus, over time, a balance is established.

The mole in the garden

For garden owners, molehills in the lawn and in the flowerbeds are not welcome. After all, a young, vital mole can produce around 20 mounds a day. In addition, grave activity can sometimes damage plant roots. But contrary to popular belief, the Earth dweller is not a plant pest. By raising the earth, it even ensures a loose structure and good ventilation of the garden floor. Not to mention, he keeps pests in check.

molehill

Molehills on the lawn are a thorn in the side of most gardeners

Incidentally, most of the time, the alleged mole-building is actually the work of a vole. On closer inspection, however, both can be quite well distinguished: The raised mounds of moles are usually higher and free of roots or plant remains. The hole is usually centered below, while the vole is usually found a little further along the edge of the pile. The profile of the gait is also transverse oval, while voles create highly oval passages. Those who are not sure, just do a so-called Verwühlprobe: Open the corridor in one place and look again the next day. If the corridor was closed again, it is a vole.

Moles are under protection of species

In contrast to the vole, the mole enjoys protection of species and must not be fought directly, let alone killed. Since 1986, insectivores have been among the most protected species. The nature conservation authority grants a special permit only if its duct system, for example, jeopardizes the safety of a dyke. Catching life traps, such as buried, smooth-walled plastic buckets, is also prohibited, as it ends in most cases deadly to the mole. If the catch is not noticed in time, the animal dies of stress or lack of food.

Expel mole instead of fighting

Fighting moles is not allowed - but driving out of your own garden already. We present some efficient methods that do no harm to the animals.

With smells:

Because of his well-developed sense organs, the mole feels quickly disturbed by odors, noises and vibrations. This can be used in the expulsion of the unwanted garden resident. As odorants against moles, a variety of home remedies are recommended, for example, sour milk, pressed with water pressed cloves of garlic, dog hair, vinegar essence, crushed Lebensbaumzweige or Pflanzenjauchen from wormwood or nettles. In the trade there are also odor-intensive Vergrämungsmittel, for example mole-fright or mole-out. For all preparations, it is important to spread the odor sources evenly over the ductwork. To do this, open a corridor every few meters and fill in the substances.Depending on the weather, you should renew the odor sources at least once a week until the mole does not throw up new piles.

With sound waves:

Even with acoustic methods, the mole can be driven out of the garden. The classic are slightly obliquely buried in the ground bottles that produce a sound in the wind. Also successfully used are homemade small windmills, which give a squeaky sound, whose vibrations are transmitted via a metal post directly to the ground. Other sound games, for example, where old spoons hung on strings against the metal stand, are suitable for repelling moles. The effect of ultrasound equipment from the retail trade is controversial, but there are many reports on the Internet from amateur gardeners who have successfully used these devices against moles. Also, frequent mowing with a gasoline lawnmower - about once or twice a week - keeps the mole, at least during the grass season from devastating the green carpet.

Robotic lawnmower

Owner of a robotic lawnmower rarely have problems with moles

Anyone who has the lawn care done by a robotic lawnmower will also have a good chance of permanently driving out the troublemaker. Various manufacturers and robotic lawnmower owners have learned that the lawn was suddenly free of molehills after using the electronic helpers. The low noise levels and vibrations, combined with the long operating times, apparently make the annoying villains abandon their ancestral territory.

Other methods:

An effective, but time-consuming method to expel a mole is to immediately lull the newly raised molehills back in with the garden hose. Who does that consistently, causes the mole to leave his ancestral territory and to seek a less "stressful" stay. If you have a cat, you do not have to worry about moles in the garden. Either they "catch them in the act" or feel threatened and migrate to other areas by themselves.

You can find both positive and negative testimonials on the Internet for each method of expelling. However, the negative experiences are often based on the fact that the villains are not moles but voles. The rodents are less sensitive to noise and bad smells.

Video Board: Watch A Live Mole Dig His Way To Freedom.

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