Golden Moles (Chrysochloridae): a family of insectivorous burrowing animals with an aerodynamic shape of the body, short limbs and an invisible tail.
These animals are not common moles, although they are relatives of them. In total, science knows 21 species of gold or gold moles in 7 genera.
The Golden Moles of the cape live in the Sahel (a geographical area in North Africa, south of the Sahara), where they are found in a wide variety of landscapes, preferring sandy soils.
Outwardly, these animals look like common moles. The body is oval, the neck is short and thick, the snout narrows conically to the nose and the tail is rudimentary.
The skin of the golden Moles is thick and resistant, especially in the head.
The eyes are rudimentary (that is, they have lost their main purpose) and are covered with hairy skin, the optic nerve is underdeveloped.
The holes of the ears are covered with skin, the nostrils are protected by a leather pillow.
In some species, in addition to a leather pillow, the nostrils also have leaf-shaped excrescences that prevent sand from entering the nose during excavation.
The head of the golden mole is wedge-shaped, the shoulders are very muscular, the forelimbs are strong and armed with curved digging claws.
Of the four claws, the most powerful is the third, and the first and fourth are usually rudimentary.
The hind legs, with five fingers connected by membranes, with small claws, are used to throw loose soil into the tunnels.
The main sensory organs of the golden Moles are hearing, touch and smell. The bones of the ear in some species are disproportionately large, which makes these animals very sensitive to vibrations.
The coat of the golden moles is remarkable: thick and soft, it has iridescent reflections of copper green, violet, blue or bronze.
The natural color of the fur coat is one of the brown tones. The rest of the hair is water resistant and remains smooth and dry even in the mud, and a thick and curly inner layer provides insulation.
The diet of the Golden Moles consists mainly of earthworms and insect larvae.
The giant golden moles feed on bipedal centipedes, which they find in abundance in the forest garbage.
They also eat giant earthworms and any small vertebrate that gets in their way.
The Golden Mole is extracted in underground tunnels. Outside, their movements look like ridges of land.
The species that live in the desert “swim” in the sand just below the surface, leaving furrows.
Many species also dig deeper passages that connect grassy nests, baths, and spiral side aisles. At the same time, animals shed excess soil on small mounds.
The key to the evolutionary success of these animals lies in their unique physiology.
The fact is that they have a very low basal metabolism, and during rest they do not regulate body temperature, which significantly reduces their energy needs.
Body temperature in these animals is lower than in other mammals of the same size.
Reduced metabolism and efficient renal function reduce moisture requirements to the point that most species do not need drinking water.
The territorial behavior of moles depends on the availability of food. Burrow systems are more extensive and defend themselves more violently in places where there is a lack of food.
Fights occur more frequently between animals of the same sex, and sometimes even between male and female.
Polka dots mate during the hot season, which occurs in the last months of summer.
These times can be variable, depending on the height at which the moles are. At high altitudes, warming and mating can be completely delayed.
After the male and female couple, the gestation period lasts 4 to 6 weeks on average, after which the female can give birth to 3 to 5 offspring for each pregnancy.
They are born with a size of no more than 3.5 centimeters and are completely devoid of hair, which begin to grow 2 weeks after birth. The period of breastfeeding moles lasts at least 35 days, from this moment young people start eating alone and leave their mothers