The only mole present in the British Isles is the European Mole.
Moles do not hibernate and 'work' on a sleeping/working pattern of approximately 4 hours. Being insectivores, their main food source is the earthworm. With a plentiful supply of food, moles will bite the head of the worm paralysing them and store them in a 'larder' area for later consumption.
A moles fur is “nap less” with almost self-cleaning properties, allowing it to reverse up runs without its fur impeding it. Most people think moles are completely black, but they vary in colour from a silvery grey to black and very rarely white. Back in the day, catching a white mole foretold of the death of the catcher…. fortunately I haven’t seen one yet!
They have a short tail covered in sensory hairs, which also appear on and around their chin, face and back of the ears, allowing the mole to detect worms and insects. When 'working' the tail is held semi-erect to brush the tunnel walls, picking up vibrations passing through the ground.
Moles have a highly developed sense of smell with a pair of scent glands connected to the urinary duct, which the moles use to mark their territory. In breeding season, this helps to identify the sex of the mole occupying the territory.
A moles eyes are very small and hidden in their fur to give the appearance of being blind, but they can still differentiate between light and dark. Their ears are small with no external flaps but their hearing is acute, enabling them to effectively detect predators (and other moles). Also for their size, the mole has a mean set of teeth!
An average adult weighs about 80 grams with the female being the lightest. The female has one litter a year, of between two to seven young (commonly three to four). Breeding takes place around February to June with the young being fully mature at five weeks. On average, they live between two to five years, the latter being very fortunate.
Moles are solitary, but not as solitary as people think. Whilst they will share the main runs under hedges and fences, they will defend their own individual territories aggressively. As territories often overlap, when a mole is caught or vacates, another mole will often sense it has been vacated and will quickly 'move in'.
Moles have several layers of tunnels; shallow, short-lived surface tunnels, and deeper tunnels used for breeding and feeding. They will travel on top of the land as well as underneath it, although this is when they are most vulnerable to predators.