I am a mole, and I live in a hole. What does a mole do under snow?

The mole digs and lives in tunnels in the soil; its day consists of digging new and clearing existing tunnels. The spoil from these excavations is pushed to the surface via another hole dug by the mole. It is this process that creates the stereotypical mole hill.

It is not the case with every mole, but I have seen tunnels dug partly in soil, and partly in snow. When the snow melts, we are sometimes able to see a little of what the mole usually does out of sight, underground. Below are images that show the result of this unusual mole behavior.

IMG_250326TH JANUARY 2013A IMG_250426TH JANUARY 2013A

12 Comments on “I am a mole, and I live in a hole. What does a mole do under snow?

  1. I’ve seen moles to significant damage to peoples yards by digging holes all over the place. I know its just what they do but it can be problem sometimes. Very interesting to see it up close like this.

  2. Our orchard is one large mole heap: they definitely outnumber the grass. I worry that it will de-stable the trees. I have also wondered about their movements under snow but your photo has made all clear!

      • Do foxes dig them out? I did not realise, I thought they lived mainly on rabbits and pheasants.

      • I’ve seen foxes trying to dig moles directly out of their tunnels, but I don’t think it’s an effective strategy. I believe the marsh foxes have more success with a tunnel collapsing method I have seen them use.

        The fox slowly sniffs the ground between two mole hills; it might do this several times. When the mole’s position has been pinpointed, the fox raises its head, and its body stiffens. It’s head will turn slowly to the left and then right a few times, probably trying to hear the mole. The fox will run excitedly between the molehills two or three times, stopping each time to check that the mole is still where it thinks it is. The fox then jumps high in the air a few times, impacting the ground with its paws, in an attempt to collapse the tunnel in front of and behind the mole.

        The mole will immediately begin clearing the loose soil from its tunnel. The fox works out which hill the mole is moving the spoil towards, and waits there patiently until it’s the right moment to pounce. The mole will push the loose soil out through the molehill. When the fox sees the soil moving, it jumps high in the air and to gain sufficient speed and momentum to drive its nose deep into the soft soil, hoping to grab the mole as its head appears aboveground.

  3. That’s fascinating, thank you so much:) Don’t get me wrong, I like moles, but they do choose the most inconvenient place to dig, like my veg. garden and the orchard, when there fields and fields around us which they could choose instead. I also like foxes, and wish no harm to either species, but it is really interesting to learn how animals manage their food sources and environment.

    • Moles don’t know that they are not supposed to dig tunnels in people’s gardens, and foxes don’t know that they are not supposed to kill chickens. On the marsh, they are able go about their business relatively unhindered; apart from having to put up me watching them now and again. Actually, this is not strictly true; a lot of trees have been cut down over the last six months, so the animals have had a fair amount of disruption to deal with. I think many of them might have voted with their feet and moved off somewhere else. 🙂

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: