Did you know that there are many animals that share similar characteristics with moles? From living underground to burrowing and having a keen sense of smell, some of these animals can actually be mistaken for moles! In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most interesting animals that are similar to moles.
Animals Like Moles
Moles are small, furry mammals that are found in various parts of Asia, Europe, and North America. While they are often considered to be pests by gardeners, moles actually play an important role in the ecosystem.
They spend most of their time underground, where they help to aerate the soil and control the populations of grubs, earthworms, and other insects.
These tiny furry creatures have sensitive hearing and an excellent sense of smell, which helps them find food. Moles also have sharp claws that they use to dig tunnels. Some species of moles can dig up to 18 feet in a single day!
Below are 13 species of animals that are like moles:
1. American Pygmy Shrew
Scientific Name: Sorex hoyi
The Arctic shrew is a small, mouse-like creature found in the northern parts of the United States and throughout Canada. Like moles, American pygmy shrews have short fur and long, pointed snouts.
They are also proficient diggers, and their diet consists mainly of insects and other invertebrates. And they are not as well-known as their mole cousins.
Fun Fact: The American pygmy shrew is the smallest mammal in North America!
Scientific Name: Erinaceus europaeus
The hedgehog is a small, spiny mammal found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. These creatures are most active at night. Like moles, hedgehogs have a keen sense of smell, use their sharp claws to dig for food and spend a lot of time underground. Hedgehogs’ diet consists mainly of insects, but they also eat snails, frogs, and small mammals.
Hedgehogs are covered in sharp quills, which they use as a defense mechanism against predators. These creatures are also known to roll into a tight ball when threatened to protect their soft bellies from predators.
Fun Fact: Hedgehogs are among the few animals that are immune to snake venom!
3. Bank Vole
Scientific Name: Myodes glareolus
The bank vole is a small rodent found throughout Europe and Asia. It is very similar to the common mole, with a short, stocky body and brown or gray fur. However, the bank vole has a much shorter tail, and its ears are much larger in proportion to its body.
The bank vole is a timid creature, and like the mole, it spends most of its time hidden in burrows or among vegetation. It is active both day and night, feeding on a variety of plant foods, insects, small mammals, and birds’ eggs.
Fun fact: Female bank voles interact and communicate with their offspring through ultrasound.
4. Eurasian Water Shrew
Scientific Name: Neomys fodiens
The Eurasian water shrew is a small, mouse-like mammal found throughout much of Europe and Asia. Like moles, water shrews are proficient swimmers who spend much time foraging for food in aquatic environments. They have long, streamlined bodies and webbed feet, which help them to move easily through the water.
Both species are well-adapted to life underground and rely on their sense of touch to navigate in the dark. They’re also skilled hunters, preying on a variety of small animals such as insects and worms.
Fun Fact: The Eurasian Water Shrew’s tail is around three-quarters as long as its whole body
5. European Snow Vole
Scientific Name: Chionomys nivalis
The European snow vole is a small rodent found in the mountainous regions of Europe. It is similar to the common mole in appearance, with short fur and a stocky body. However, the snow vole has much longer hind legs, which help it to move easily through deep snow.
These creatures are well-adapted to life in cold environments and spend most of their time burrowed underground. They emerge at night to forage for food, which consists mainly of plants and insects. Snow voles are also known to eat the occasional small mammal or bird.
Fun Fact: European snow voles have been known to survive temperatures as low as -58 degrees Fahrenheit!
6. Myosorex Tenuis
Scientific Name: Myosorex Tenuis
Myosorex tenuis is a small, mouse-like mammal found in the forests of Central and East Africa. Like moles, Myosorex tenuis has short fur and a long snout. It is also proficient at digging and spends most of its time foraging for food underground.
Myosorex tenuis is a nocturnal creature and feeds mainly on insects. However, it will also eat small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians if the opportunity arises.
Fun Fact: Myosorex tenuis is one of the smallest mammals in Africa, with an average body length of just over four inches!
7. Prairie Vole
Scientific Name: Microtus ochrogaster
The Prairie Vole is a small rodent native to North America. It is a member of the mouse family, closely related to the meadow vole and the pine vole.
Like the mole, the prairie vole has a burrowing lifestyle. It’s also about the same size as the common mole and has a similar body shape. However, the Prairie Vole has a shorter tail and smaller eyes.
The fur of the Prairie Vole is also shorter than that of the common mole. The Prairie Vole is a herbivore that primarily eats grasses and other plants.
Fun fact: Prairie voles communicate with each other through postures and signal threats by extending their heads forward.
8. North American Least Shrew
Scientific Name: Cryptotis parva
The small-eared shrew, or North American Least Shrew, is a mammal species that belongs to the Soricidae family. It is found in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua.
Its wild habitats include tropical or subtropical dry forests, moist montane, degraded, and moist lowland forests.
The small-eared shrew is a tiny mammal with a body length of only about four inches. It has reddish-brown fur, and its tail is shorter than its body. Small-eared shrews are carnivores, and they eat insects, spiders, and other small animals.
And like moles, small-eared shrews have long, slender snouts with small ears and eyes.
Fun fact: The small-eared shrew is one of the least studied animals due to its secretive and solitary lifestyle.
9. Tundra Vole
Scientific Name: Microtus oeconomus
The Tundra Vole is a small rodent found in the Arctic tundra of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is similar to the Prairie Vole in appearance, but it has a longer tail and smaller eyes.
Like a mole, the Tundra Vole is also proficient at digging and spends most of its time foraging for food underground. Tundra voles are herbivores whose diet consists mainly of plants and mosses. They also eat the occasional insect or grub.
Fun Fact: Tundra voles can jump up to three feet in the air! They use their long tails for balance when they are jumping.
10. Northern Short-Tailed Shrew
Scientific Name: Blarina brevicauda
The Northern short-tailed shrew is a small, mouse-like mammal native to North America. Like other shrews, it has a long, pointed snout and a body that is covered in fur. It also has a protruding belly and a short, stumpy tail.
However, the Northern short-tailed shrew is unique because it is the only member of its genus to live in North America. Although it is similar in appearance to moles, the two animals are not closely related.
Both animals are insectivores, but the Northern short-tailed shrew feeds primarily on spiders and insects, while moles prefer to eat earthworms and grubs.
The Northern short-tailed shrew is also much smaller than most moles, weighing only about 15 grams. In contrast, the average mole weighs between 35 and 45 grams.
Fun fact: According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the short-tailed shrew is the only venomous mammal in the U.S.
Scientific Name: Meles meles
Badgers are members of the weasel family, which also includes otters, wolverines, and ferrets. They are stocky animals with short legs, long bodies, and black-and-white fur.
Badgers are found in Europe, Asia, and North America. In North America, there are two species of badger: the American badger and the Eurasian badger. Both species are proficient diggers and build their homes underground.
Like moles, badgers use their powerful claws to dig burrows for shelter and to create underground tunnels that they use to move around. In addition, both badgers and moles are nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active at night. Finally, badgers and moles are both solitary creatures and do not generally live in groups.
Fun fact: Badgers are some of the most skilled diggers in the animal kingdom, and they can tunnel through hard soil at a rate of up to 15 feet per hour!
12. Ground Squirrels
Scientific Name: Marmotini
Ground squirrels are a type of rodent that is found in many parts of the world. They are similar to moles in several ways, including their burrowing habits and diet. Both ground squirrels and moles are quite good at digging, and they often build their homes by burrowing underground.
In addition, both animals feed primarily on insects and other small invertebrates. Ground squirrels and moles also have similar physical features, including small eyes and ears and short legs.
However, ground squirrels are typically larger than moles, and they have furry tails, whereas moles do not. Despite their similarities, ground squirrels and moles occupy different ecological niches and are not closely related taxonomically. Groundhogs are basically gigantic North American ground squirrels.
Fun fact: Ground squirrels are excellent swimmers, and they have been known to travel between islands by swimming!
13. Naked Mole Rat
Scientific name: Heterocephalus glaber
The naked mole rat is a small, rodent-like mammal native to parts of Africa. As its name suggests, the naked mole rat is hairless and has a wrinkled, pinkish-brown body. It is also blind and has poor eyesight.
Despite their strange appearance, naked mole rats are pretty similar to moles. Both animals are proficient diggers and use their powerful claws to excavate tunnels. They also live in underground burrows and are active primarily at night.
Naked mole rats are also similar to moles in terms of their diet. Both animals feed primarily on insects and other small invertebrates. However, the naked mole rat has a unique adaptation that allows it to digest these foods more efficiently.
Unlike other mammals, the naked mole rat has a large intestine that is specially adapted for fermentation. This allows the naked mole rat to extract more nutrients from its food, which is important in its nutrient-poor environment.
Fun fact: The naked mole rat is the longest-lived rodent in the world and can live for up to 28 years!