Significance to humans

Burrowing moles are perhaps best known to humans for their tunnels, which are the bane of gardeners and farmers, as well as homeowners who desire a perfect lawn. Few realize that mole activities help turn over and aerate the soil, or that they feed on a considerable quantity of harmful insects, particularly beetle larvae and slugs.

An American shrew mole (Neurotrichus gibbsii) foraging. (Photo by R. Wayne Van Devender. Reproduced by permission.)

1. Star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata); 2. Hairy-tailed mole (Parascalops breweri); 3. European mole (Talpa europaea); 4. Eastern mole (Scalo-pus aquaticus); 5. American shrew mole (Neurotrichus gibbsii); 6. Russian desman (Desmana moschata). (Illustration by Brian Cressman)

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