The eastern mole or common mole is a medium-sized, overall grey North American mole. Its large, hairless, spade-shaped forefeet are adapted for digging.
The species prefers the loamy soils found in thin woods,fields, pastures and meadows, and builds both deep and shallow burrows characterized by discarded excess soil collected in molehills. Its nest is composed of leaves and grasses, and its two to five young are on their own at about four weeks. Its diet consists principally of earthworms and other soil life, but the mole will eat vegetable matter.
Dogs, cats, foxes, and coyotes prey upon the mole, and the species hosts a variety of parasites. Unlike gophers, moles do not eat vegetation and pose no threat to human concerns; the occasional damage to lawns is offset by the aeration provided the soil and consumption of insects.
The eastern mole is a small, sturdy animal which lives principally underground and is highly specialized for a subterranean way of life. Its body is somewhat cylindrically shaped with an elongated head. A fleshy, moveable snout projecting over the mouth with nostrils on the upper part is used as an organ of touch. The minute, degenerative eyes are hidden in the fur; the eyelids are fused and sight is limited to simply distinguishing between light and dark. The ear opening is small and concealed in the fur, but hearing is fairly acute. A short, thick tail is lightly furred and is used as an organ of touch, guiding the mole when it moves backward in the tunnel.
The mole is about 16 cm in length including a 3 cm long tail and weighs about 75 g. Males collected from various parts of the species’ range showed the following extremes in measurements: total length 15–18 cm, tail 2–3 cm, hind foot 1.8–2.1 cm, and females displayed extremes of: total length 14–16 cm, tail 1.5–2.8 cm, hind foot 1.8–2.1 cm, weight 40–50 g. Males are larger than females and males collected in the northern Midwest were largest of all.