Beak-like noses, unseen eyes, no ears, velvety fur, and stubby, hairless tails--these are identifying characteristics of moles.

Eastern moles live underground in fields, lawns, and meadows where their tunneling creates snakelike ridges on the surface. These tunnels usually kill grass, much to the frustration of homeowners. Moles feed on worms--85 percent of their diet--and insects. In search of food, they literally swim through the soil by digging with their short, outward-facing, spade-like front feet. The eastern mole occurs only in the southeast fourth of the state. It is six to seven inches long and weighs about four ounces.

Starnose moles live in wet areas of northern forests where they push up mounds of black soil. They are named after the 22 pink tentacles on the tip of the nose which aid in detecting worms and insects. The starnose differs from the gray eastern mole because of its dark brown or black fur and its hairy tail which is constricted at the base. These moles are active year-around, burrowing in snow as readily as earth.

Eastern mole illustration