Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois
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Nature Bulletin No. 33   September 22, 1945
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Clayton F., Smith, President
Roberts Mann, Supt. of Conservation

Few persons ever see a mole. He lives entirely underground and apparently lives alone, except in the spring when they mate and produce one litter, usually four in number.

Each mole has a central nest-chamber deep under a stump, or boulder, or a sidewalk. From this he pushes out an extensive series of runways in search of food. They are enormous eaters. A mole may consume the equivalent of its own weight in worms and insects in a single day.

The mole has a long pointed snout which is very sensitive, and a short tail, which is equally sensitive, to guide his backward movements along the runways. Their fur is lye velvet and may be brushed either backward or forward. They have tiny eyeballs about the size of the head of a pin, and tiny ears which, however, are very keen. The mole works like an animated plow, boring through the earth, usually just under the surface, with powerful breast strokes. His paddle-shaped front feet, with five toes each armed with a long broad claw and an extra sickle-shaped bone on the outside of the thumb, his powerful forelegs and shoulders, and his wedge-shaped head, enable him to tunnel at the rate of one foot in three minutes, They have been known to tunnel 100 yards in one night. Placed on the surface, a mole can dig himself out of sight in 10 seconds.

Moles are valuable animals, but they can play havoc with a fine lawn, While they do not eat plant food themselves, the mice that frequently use the runways do eat the grass roots, and the air conveyed along the runways may cause the exposed roots to die. All in all, however, they do far more good than harm.

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