Scientific Name: Scalopus aquaticus
Taxonomy Group: Mammals
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2010
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Special Concern
Image of Eastern Mole
The Eastern Mole (Scalopus aquaticus) is twice the size of a mouse, with a robust body, short, scantily-haired tail, large, broad front feet, and a long, pointed, hairless snout. The colour of the dense fur varies throughout the mole’s range. The Eastern Mole can easily be distinguished from the Star-nosed Mole by the lack of fleshy appendages on its nose, and from the Hairy-tailed Mole by the absence of both webbed toes and hair on the tail. (Updated 2017/06/06)
Distribution and Population
The Eastern Mole has the largest range of any mole species in North America. It occurs in most eastern and central states of the U.S., in extreme southern Canada, and in northern Mexico. In Canada, the species is restricted to southern Ontario, specifically three municipalities in Essex County, Ontario (Towns of Essex and Kingsville and the Municipality of Leamington) and the western portion of Romney Township in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. (Updated 2017/06/06)
Throughout its range, the Eastern Mole occupies a variety of habitats ranging from open woodlands to open fields, where the soil is sufficiently soft to allow tunnel construction. In Ontario, Eastern Moles are most frequently found in loam or sandy loam soils in forested areas, and along wooded or brushy hedgerows, water courses or open drains, where the soil is stone-free, coarse-textured, and generally fast-draining. In open habitat, mole tunnels generally radiate out from shady areas; cultivated fields are rarely used. Approximately 929 ha of potential habitat is estimated to occur in Canada. (Updated 2017/06/06)
Eastern Moles are mostly solitary and occupy relatively stable home ranges year-round. They excavate two types of tunnels: near-surface tunnels, which are used for foraging, and deep permanent gallery tunnels; digging the latter may produce the characteristic molehills, or “pushups”. Males have larger home ranges (1.1 ha) than females (0.3 ha). The species likely has a polygynous mating system with breeding occurring after the first year. Breeding occurs once a year with the timing being later at northern latitudes. Mating takes place in late March-early April, and a litter of 2-5 young moles is produced in late April or early May. Moles feed on a wide variety of invertebrates, including earthworms, larvae and adult beetles, ants and vegetable matter (including mycorrhizal fungi). Because they live a largely subterranean existence, they are usually at low risk of predation, unless predators (e.g., snakes, weasels) enter or dig up tunnels (canids), or flooding or juvenile dispersal causes moles to come to the surface (where they are vulnerable to raptors and other predators). (Updated 2017/06/06)
The range of the Eastern Mole in Canada is likely limited by suitable soil types. Lands with suitable soils have been extensively modified or converted to intensive agriculture and residential development, with only a small percentage remaining that contains sufficient vegetative cover to provide suitable habitat. Habitat patches are frequently small and surrounded by unsuitable habitat. Eastern Moles likely have limited ability to move large distances across inhospitable habitat, resulting in isolation of populations in proximity to forest patches. (Updated 2017/06/06)
Federal ProtectionMore information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
The Eastern Mole occurs within Point Pelee National Park, where it is protected under the Canada National Parks Act.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Recovery Progress and Activities
Summary of Progress to Date Annual population inventories recorded since 1994 suggest that while the individual Eastern Mole populations are not stable from year to year, the species as a whole in Canada is neither increasing nor decreasing over time. Summary of Research/Monitoring The Eastern Mole has been monitored in Point Pelee National Park since 1985. This monitoring has become an annual management requirement since 1989. The Point Pelee National Park population is considered the largest population in Canada. Field surveys conducted in 1997 suggest that the Eastern Mole is expanding its range into Essex County reclaiming habitat once within its historical range. A Geographic Information System is being used to assist Ontario Park managers to identify roadkill hotspots. Summary of Recovery Activities Researchers are identifying sites where traffic mortality occurs and are erecting signage to prevent roadkill.
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
6 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Action Plans (1 record(s) found.)
- Management Plans (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Document Posting Plans (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
Recovery Document Posting Plans
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