Hairytailed mole

Parascalops breweri

SUBFAMILY

Talpinae

TAXONOMY

Parascalops breweri (Bachman, 1842), eastern North America. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Brewer's mole; French: Taupe a queue velue; German: Bürstenmaulwurf, Haarschwanzmaulwurf.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The total length is 5.5-6.7 in (14.0-17.0 cm), with the tail 0.9-1.4 in (2.3-3.6 cm) long. Average adult weight ranges from 1.4-2.3 oz (40-65 g). Males are generally larger than females. Dark brown, sometimes black mole with a hairy tail. It has the wide, clawed hands and tiny eyes typical of burrowing talpids.

DISTRIBUTION

Eastern United States and southeastern Canada stretching from northwestern South Carolina and northern Georgia at its southern extreme to southern Ontario and Quebec in the north.

HABITAT

Prefers sandy or loamy forests, fields, lawns, and other cultivated areas.

BEHAVIOR

This fossorial mole spends most of its time in its shallow, foraging tunnels or in deeper tunnels that provide winter protection. It also employs the deeper tunnels as breeding sites, where it constructs a grassy or leafy nest. The shallow tunnels are narrow and just deep enough to at most only minimally disturb the surface. Its mole hills, however, are evident. Hairy-tailed moles are generally solitary, but not territorial, and con-specifics as well as other small mammals may also traverse its tunnels.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Day and night, this mole forages for food, which includes earthworms, beetles, and other invertebrates, including slugs and centipedes, and an occasional plant root. Predators are the same as those listed for the eastern mole, but also include short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda), which sometimes prey on newborns.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Probably promiscuous. Mating occurs in early spring, with a litter of three-six altricial young born about 30-40 days later. Females typically have one litter per year. The young are weaned at about a month and become sexually mature at 10 months.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

This species' tunneling behavior can damage lawns and gardens. ♦

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