Is there any truth in this strange mole myth?

PUBLISHED: 16:00 07 March 2018

Moles: Is it true that they always surface at a certain time in the afternoon?

Moles: Is it true that they always surface at a certain time in the afternoon?

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Grace Corne looks at the mysterious world of the mole.

We have watched with interest a number of new houses being built on the edge of a local town. This has involved a good deal of activity with heavy machinery. Needless to say the ‘show homes’ were built in the front and on completion they had small shrubs planted in the gardens and the whole of the front area was built up into a gentle slope, levelled and covered with turf. Only two weeks later we went past and very obvious in the pristine grass were two mole-hills.

This is interesting. On one side of the development is the A146, surely one of the busiest roads in Norfolk. At the back of the development more houses are still being built, with, again, the necessary heavy machinery and land moving and on the third side are pre-existing buildings with concrete and tarmac surroundings. On the last side is the road into the town, so how did the moles get there? Unless they were accidentally imported with the turf they must have burrowed under a considerable amount of tarmac and buildings.

Moles are rarely seen and because of this many strange tales and rumours have been recorded about them They are certainly not blind as is widely believed, and the structure of their front feet proves perfect for digging. Their feet are large compared to the overall size of the animal and have strong nails. The paws remain rigid and the palms face outwards. Another interesting feature is the short, grey fur which stays upright on the animal and therefore does not get caught in the soil when underground. The nose of the mole is also ideally shaped for helping to remove newly-dug soil.

Moles were despised in earlier times because the main means of transport was the horse and many of these injured their limbs or threw their riders by stumbling over mole workings.

I have been assured that a mole will always surface at twenty minutes past four in the afternoon and strangely on two occasions I have found this to be true. Moles are not vegetarians and do not object to eating carrion. I can testify they have very sharp teeth and they are reported as attacking “birds, lizards, frogs and snakes.”

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