Posts Tagged ‘zoos’

The Misunderstood Quirks Of The Mole

May 29, 2010

We don’t have any moles in Ireland.  I don’t know why really, as they are fairly common in the UK.  Perhaps they are a late species and came along after the Irish Sea was formed.  They certainly don’t look like powerful swimmers so unless they are introduced in a similar manner to the grey squirrel (an unwanted wedding present that escaped) Irish gardeners can rest easy.

That’s what they’re famous for really isn’t it? The debris earth they spurt to the surface as they make their way through the land looking for dinner.  Humans have always assumed they own the world so when a harmless animal like the mole has the cheek to do what is natural to him, he is called a pest and is trapped and killed.

Moles are in fact not pests.  They do no damage to the land they populate and apart from the “unsightly” presence of a few molehills, do no harm to a garden.  In fact educated gardeners tend to just tidy away the molehills and leave them be. This way their garden will have a metro of underground tunnels and any future moles that come along will have no need to dig up any more Earth.  How simple is that?

If however, a gardener simply cannot put up with such a sweet little animal making an eyesore, there is a much more ethical (and simple) way to deter unwanted moles.

Step 1: Find an empty 2 litre coke bottle (or 7up…it doesn’t really matter)

Step 2: Fill it half way with water

Step 3: Dig a small hole in the garden so the bottle will stay upright

Step 4: wait

Remember when you were a child and you discovered the sound a bottle makes when it is half full with water and you blow on it?  Well, that sound is like nails on a chalkboard to a mole. Whenever a breeze passes the neck it will send vibrations throughout the earth and any mole within range will leave out of irritation. Problem solved, and no moles harmed at all, just a little peeved.

Still you must ask yourself which is worse. The natural sight of a few molehills that shows your garden is a healthy ecosystem, or a plastic bottle sticking out of the ground?  Your choice.

As I said Ireland don’t have moles so molehills were not part of my landscape. The first and only time I came across them was in a park in Munich a few years ago. I got so excited I asked a passerby to take a picture.

Readers of this blog will know that I have bitched previously about how native (or nearly native) animals are often ignored by Zoos and Wildlife Centers.  I don’t understand why animals that live on the other side of the planet, like meerkats and koalas are much more familiar to people than more common animals such as the mole.

I realize, as an underground animal the mole is hardly an ideal exhibit for a Zoo, however I still strongly feel all Zoos should have a section devoted to local wildlife where we can actually benefit from the education in providing for our local environment.

Still, perhaps it is in the interest of the mole not to be shoved into an artificial atmosphere.   I’m sure they would much rather reside in their cozy tunnels harming nobody except for the occasional earthworm.