June is bustin’ out all over. And that includes the mole tunnels in my wooded cottage yard.
I was bound and determined to put into place a mole removal program. I consulted with the experts in this area which are basically three guys – my hardware store owner, my pest control guy, and my son who is always ready for edgy projects.
But nature brought forth an interesting twist. I saw the mole alive!
He (she?) happened to surface a few feet away from me, allowing a close-up view. Since then I can’t stop thinking about the mole.
I mean how many of you have ever seen a mole close-up – alive and not in captivity? I surely had not. There were Mr. Mole and Mr. Toad in my childhood storybook, The Wind in the Willows. And there was the exhibit in Lincoln Park Zoo, but the moles were always hiding.
Here’s my first impression of my close-up view: he (she?) looked like an empty toilet paper roll – but fuzzy. A mole is only about 5-8 “ long, depending on the type. There are 7 species in North America. According to the cottage copy of the Natural Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals, my mole is a Common Mole. It goes on:
“A mole is among the most subterranean of mammals. They are designed to move backward and forwards in tight burrows. Hearing is well developed in moles. Their ear openings are concealed within the fur and thus kept from becoming clogged with dirt. Their eyes are light-sensitive, pinhead size dots, and their vision is poor. The most important sensory organ is the flexible snout.” Note: (I saw this amazing little nose moving back and forth – sensing my presence.)
Another note: The mole is not a sloth; it travels fast.” Its long-clawed forefeet let it breaststroke through porous soil at about a foot per minute!” I had no idea. This tunneling activity, often considered a nuisance in lawns, is beneficial to the environment because it aerates the soil, allows rain to penetrate, and reduces erosion.
Until I met this little creature I was dead set on eliminating him and his telltale trail. This was not just a mole; this was a marvel. I wish I myself were created with such fitting environmental gear.
Why was this little mole above the surface? I will never know. Perhaps there was an obstacle in the subterranean world. Perhaps she just wanted to educate me and erase my negative pre-disposition. Perhaps she wanted to distract me on Father’s Day weekend as I sorely miss mine.
I am sure that I will never think of moles the same way again. Bless their little subterranean earth-worm eating selves. They were designed perfectly. Humans have a good design too. I’ll keep trying to use mine with the diligence of the mole.