Species At Risk

Eastern Mole

(Scalopus aquaticus)

Special Concern

Eastern Mole
Eastern Mole occurrences map


The Eastern Mole is a small mammal, about 16 centimetres long from nose to tail. It has velvety grey fur, large scoop-shaped front paws for digging, a slim pointed nose, tiny eyes and a short hairless tail. The mole eats worms, insect larvae, ants, plant tubers and seeds that it finds in the tunnels it digs.

The Eastern Mole is secretive and rarely seen, but leaves clear signs of its activity - raised earth tunnels and mounds of excavated dirt ("push ups" or molehills) that it builds in lawns, gardens and fields.

Eastern Moles live about three years. They breed and reproduce once a year with litters of two to five young.

Action we are taking:


Widespread and common in eastern and central North America, the range of the Eastern Mole is restricted to the extreme southwestern part of Ontario. It was never common in the province.


The Eastern Mole lives in a range of habitats, including forests, open woodlands, meadows, pastures and fields. It is also found in urban settings such as parks, cemeteries and residential yards. Its preferred habitat is stone-free sand and sandy loam soil with a cover of woody plants.


Much of the suitable habitat for Eastern Moles has been converted to farmland. Fragmented, small populations can disappear at any time and are very slow to return.


The Eastern Mole is listed as a species of Special Concern under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. Although species of Special Concern do not receive legal protection under this act, this species lives in some conservation areas and in Point Pelee National Park where they receive some protection. Surveys of tunnels and push-ups are conducted each year in the national park to monitor mole numbers.

What You Can Do to Help the Eastern Mole

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as the Eastern Mole. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. You may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • The Carolinian forests of southern Ontario support an amazing diversity of plants and wildlife, including many species at risk. Carolinian Canada is working to help recover species at risk and their habitats. For more information, visit: www.carolinian.org/SpeciesHabitats.htm.

Did you know?

Eastern Moles can dig more than a metre in an hour, and their tunnels can be up to a kilometre long.

Did you know?

Young Eastern Moles are cared for and nursed by their mother in her nest and tunnel system until they are weaned. They continue to share her tunnel system until they are able to forage on their own, when they leave and establish their own tunnel systems.

Did you know?

Although these moles have no vision, they may be able to detect the presence or absence of light. Their ears are also covered by a layer of skin but they may be able to detect sounds and vibrations. Eastern Moles probably find their way around and detect prey by their acute senses of smell and touch.

Did you know?

Eastern Moles spend 99 per cent of their time in their underground tunnels, where there are few predators that can find and catch them.

The Endangered Species Act

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.