Golden mole Facts

Golden mole Facts
Golden mole is a small mammal of the Chrysochloridae family. There are 21 species of the golden moles. All of them are endemic (live only there and nowhere else) to South Africa. They can be found only in the Pretoria, the Nylsvley region and southwestern parts of the Kruger National Park. Golden moles live underground in the sandy soil under grasslands with scattered trees and bushes (also known as bushveld). 11 out of 25 species of golden moles are endangered due to habitat loss (and/or destruction) and because they are often killed by cats and dogs.
Interesting Golden mole Facts:
Golden mole is a tiny creature. It reaches 3.9 inches in length and 1.23 ounces of weight.
Body of the golden mole is covered with silky cinnamon-brown fur that is getting darker toward the back and paler toward the belly.
Golden moles are highly specialized for the underground life. They have muscular shoulders and short, but strong legs, equipped with curved claws, designed for digging of the tunnels. Webbed hind legs allow shoveling in backwards.
Golden mole has non-functional eyes due to absence of light under the ground.
Golden mole has excellent sense of touch and hearing, used for detection of vibrations that may signal potential danger.
Species of golden moles which live in desert area "swim" through the loose sand and form visible ridges on the surface of the sand. Those that inhabit more compact terrains dig permanent underground burrows, which are complex and consist of deep chambers designated for the rest and for the personal hygiene (something like toilets).
Golden moles are insectivores which eat different kind of insects, earthworms and snails. Termites are their favorite foods.
Golden mole has very low metabolic rate and may enter the state of torpor (kind of temporary hibernation) which preserves energy. Torpor is usually associated with extreme weather conditions and with a resting time.
Golden mole can switch off its termo-regulation when resting. This is another mechanism used for conservation of the energy. It was considered to be very primitive feature, but modern techniques of analysis showed that golden moles developed this mechanism recently, as an adaptation to a life in harsh environment.
Recent genetic analyses showed that golden moles belong to the ancient group of African mammals, called Afrotheria. Golden moles are more closely related to elephants, hyraxes and sea cows than with the true moles.
Golden moles are rarely seen in the wild because they are very small, live underground and because they are active only during the night. Scientists collected majority of information about them by examining carcasses of golden moles isolated from the stomach content of owls.
Golden moles are solitary creatures which gather only during mating season. During that period, they produce sounds such as squeals and clicks.
Mating season takes place during October and November. Pregnancy lasts four to six weeks and ends up with one or two hairless babies.
Babies are kept in the burrows for a long period of time (until they gain enough weight) before they are ready to emerge to the surface. Mother is very protective and she aggressively defends her burrow.
Average lifespan of the golden mole is unknown.

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