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KEEPING YOU IN TOUCH - YOUR FREE MONTHLY NEWSPAPER DELIVERED DOOR-TO-DOOR FOR 31 YEARS MOLES JACK FORRESTER


My first contact with moles came in my childhood, when I read about engaging fictional characters such as Diggory Diggory Delvet, ‘a little old man in black velvet’ in Beatrix Potter’s Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes and the humble and polite Moly from The Wind in the Willows. However, since then I have noticed that moles seem to have a bad reputation.


From creating unsightly mud- mounds in pristine gardens, to disrupting the weekly grass mowing and being a menace for displacing plant roots, I have rarely read or heard a positive word said in the


mole’s defence. This has led me to wonder what positive actions does the mole actually do?


Moles contribute to keeping soil healthy within a garden; through digging, they turn the soil, draining it and mixing different nutrients within it. Even when a molehill has erupted, this can act as the ideal area for wildflowers to grow. Additionally, this soil can be mixed with compost to make the perfect plant-pot mixture. Along with aerating the soil, moles will also hunt down and eat larvae


which damage crops. Once upon a time, moles were even introduced into farmland as a natural pesticide to quell the harmful cockchafer beetle.


Although the mole does cause a certain amount of anguish in the garden, I am slightly surprised we do not have more admiration for the little critter. The mole is quite an industrious individual. It spends most of its time digging tunnels, which is what causes the excess soil to be pushed to the surface. This can be an arduous task as the mole will


sometimes have to push up 2kg of soil. This may not sound like a lot, but the average mole only weighs around 100g, so it lifts 20 times its own body weight! Olympic weightlifters can only lift about double theirs.


Sadly, moles have been persecuted for years, more recently for their coats to be used for fur clothes. In previous centuries they were used as a panacea for a variety of different diseases, such as curing epilepsy. In 2006, the Government banned the use of strychnine as a way of poisoning them, 50 years after it was banned for all other animals.


What can be done to help us live more harmoniously with these hardworking little creatures? The Wildlife Trusts are encouraging farmers, landowners and gardeners to have a wildlife-friendly approach, by working towards creating a Living Landscape: a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which are good for both wildlife, such as moles, and people alike.


INFO@THECOCKERMOUTHPOST.CO.UK


ISSUE 426 | 23 JUNE 2018 | 54


Mole©Amy Lewis


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