Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

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Mole: Fearless Explorer

After I found a mole near the common dumpster, I learned that moles live underground in many urban areas. This particular mole was trying to find his way home amid the concrete. With my handkerchief, I carefully picked him up and deposited him on the grass.

Nearly forty kinds of moles live in the woodlands and fields of Eurasia and North America. Moles spend most of their lives underground. In the darkness of their burrows, moles eat, sleep, mate, and raise their young. These insectivores, with their small eyes and ears, eat many insects and other invertebrates. As underground tunnellers, moles have taken advantage of where they live.

Usually out of sight and underground, moles are the least understood among mammals. As swimmers of the earth, moles’ bodies are digging machines with their shovel-like paws. Similar to a person swimming the breast stroke, moles push the dirt behind them as they dig. Once their burrows are done, moles spend much of their time patrolling their system of runways. Since their burrows act as a giant pitfall trap, moles often find worms or insects that fall into one of the tunnels. With their sensitive snouts and Eimer’s organs, moles can detect juicy worms, one of their favorite foods.

The mole’s ability to tunnel underground reminds me of an explorer hacking his way through the jungles. But the mole not only finds a path, he also makes the path for others to follow. To me, mole is more than an explorer; he is also the guide into the unknown. The mole is the Pathmaker!

Who wants to know what lies beyond the bend? Who is unafraid to go there? Who makes a road to get there? The mole!

The mole that lives around my dumpster is a common (Eastern) mole (Scalopus aquaticus), who constructs a vast series of deep tunnels for living. One of the largest and strongest of moles, the common mole is also the most adapted for life underground. With his bullet-shaped head, powerful muscles, and web-like claws, The common mole is an earth miner swimming in search of earthworms. A prolific tunneller, He has his own exclusive burrow system of summer and winter tunnels. During cold weather, He uses the deeper tunnels for warmth. In warm weather, Common Mole constructs surface tunnels, which may include hornets’ nests (one of his favorite foods).

Eating hornets is something I never thought that a mole could do. For me, Common Mole is a powerful helper, since He transmutes poison into food. As a hunter of hornets, Common Mole protects those around Him.

Most people see the common mole as a pest since He digs up their lawns. But people should welcome the common mole, for He mixes and aerates the soil, provides tunnels for water to reach plant roots, and eats many destructive insects. Instead of cursing Common Mole, watch Him as He swims through your lawn, making it greener for the future.

Perhaps people can see this mole the way the Lakota of the U.S. do – as a care taker of the earth. According to the Lakota, moles know the earth’s aches and pains. Being nearly blind, moles also see the world without bias.

In their underground world, moles are unseen and solitary. However like Mole of Kenneth Graham’s “The Wind in the Willows,” we can go outside of our comfort zone. Following brave Mole, we can come into the sunshine and make friends. We can be as fearless as Mole.

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Virginia Carper, a Roman Polytheist, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. She navigates life with a traumatic brain injury which gives her a different view on life. An avid naturalist since childhood, she has a blog called “Nature’s Observations.” Having experienced the animals directly, she teaches on-line classes about the spiritual and natural aspect of animals. She has published articles on her brain injury, Roman polytheism, and working with extinct animals. In addition her writings on animals (including dragons and other mythic creatures) can be purchased her book site, Animal Teachers.  


  • Cascadia Grove
    Cascadia Grove Thursday, 05 April 2018

    Love the article! Great picture:) I will relate to moles in a whole different way from now on. Debbie Olhoeft, Cascadia Grove

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