Mole Hunter.

Mole Hunter.

2nd March 2012:  It is almost the end of my first week of spring. I noticed a few cherry trees in full bloom whilst driving through Kidderminster early this evening.

The wood and the marsh are slowly coming to life. Walking through Hoo Wood this morning I came across tufts of badger hair strewn across a track, evidence of a badger brawl. In the early evening darkness, I heard pecking sounds coming from inside a dead, rotting and bracket fungus covered silver birch tree. I guess the sounds were made by a woodpecker working the night shift.

Mole Hunter.

A fox sensed a mole moving below ground in the north pasture. It ran repeatedly between two mole hills, with its nose close to the ground, presumably attempting to locate the mole as it moved underground. Suddenly, the fox began leaping in the air and landing heavily on its front paws. I guessed it was trying to collapse the mole’s tunnel. In between each leaping session, the fox stood motionless, watching the ground and listening intently. I assumed it was waiting for the mole to clear the fallen earth from its tunnel. I watched this episode develop through binoculars. There was further leaping, listening and motionless watching. The fox slowly backed away, again with its nose close to the ground, before turning and running in a wide semi-circle to an attack position above the mole hill. The seconds passed until the fox finally leapt high into the air. As it landed, it pushed its snout deep into the mole hill and extracted the mole. What a wonderful spectacle.

16 Comments on “Mole Hunter.

  1. My dog hunts the things much the same. At least he did. The last one caught bit him. I’ll have to see if he’s cured in any manner or encouraged.

    • I don’t really know if it was a badger brawl or not, Melissa. Maybe the badger hair is pulled out during mating.

      • The alliteration made me smile. I found several huge tufts of deer hair all over my yard this morning. I love trying to piece together what happened.

  2. How lucky you were to see this spectacular episode. This is why I have become not only a photographer, but a Nature Watcher or Bird Watcher. I find their behaviour fascinating.

    • I’ve seen this fox behavior many times, Vicki. Watching nature can be a fascinating pastime.

  3. How fascinating, I would love to have seen that. We are plagued with moles, I wish our local foxes could/would help out! Incidentally, off topic, but do you happen to know of any humane ways to keep the rat population down? The RSPCA website seems to think that all methods are cruel, except shooting and I am not any kind of shot! I don’t mind rats and am happy to live and let live but there seem to be no predators, or should I say efficient predators, in our area of countryside and they are flourishing in the local barns, around bird feeders and now digging nests under lots of my garden plants.

  4. Thanks for your comment, sweffling.

    I have used an ultrasonic rat deterrent to drive unwelcome guests from a loft – it seemed to work..

    What about using a predator like a large tom cat, or a polecat?

  5. Thanks, I’ll try the ultrasonic deterrent. Will it affect any other animals? Although our surroundings are very rural, we do have a busy lane directly in front of our cottage, now used as a ratrun, (sorry dreadful pun) or unofficial ring road to get around the outside of Sheffield, and both our, and our neighbour’s cats have been killed by cars so it does not seem kind to have any more. I have bought humane traps so that we could take the rats further afield into the local roughland, but no rat will enter!! Clever things.

    • Spike, my cocker spaniel, didn’t seem to mind the ultrasonic rat deterrent too much.

  6. Wonderful description of the great mole hunt Mike. It’s amazing what you can see when you just take the time to sit and watch and listen.

  7. Thanks, Hutch.

    Sitting, or standing, in the right place, at the right time, can be a very effective and rewarding way to watch wildlife going about its business. The trick is to blend into the background. Having an idea of what you will likely see if you stand in a particular place helps, too.

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