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eastern mole

eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus)
Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

Features and Behaviors

The eastern mole is four and one-half to six and one-half inches in length. Its body fur is gray-black, and the tops of the feet have white fur. The big claws and paddlelike front feet are used for digging. The nose is long and hairless. The short tail (one to one and one-half inches) has few hairs.

The eastern mole may be found statewide in Illinois. It lives in wooded areas, pastures, gardens, cemeteries, farm fields and lawns. This species eats mostly insects but will consume earthworms or any available food. The mole digs tunnels both just below the soil surface and at deeper levels. Digging is done with the front feet, using them to push aside soil. In good soil conditions, a mole can dig as much as 18 feet in an hour. Shallow tunnels are for finding food. Deeper burrows are for nesting and resting. A mole can turn around in a tunnel by completing a slow somersault. Not much is known about mole reproduction. The gestation period is one to two months. Young seem to be born between February and June.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Eulipotyphla
Family: Talpidae

Illinois Status: common, native