Grant's golden mole
A member of the ancient native group of African mammals and not related to European moles, the golden moles are solitary, blind burrowers with shiny pale brown fur. Grant's golden mole particularly specialises in eating termites.
Two subspecies: E.g. granti and E.g. namibensis
A small burrowing animal with very small limbs and no eyes. It is covered in brownish fur with a distinct sheen. The underbelly is paler than the back, and the nose is naked. The forelimbs and shoulders are very strong, for digging, and have a curved pick-like claw on the third digit. The hind feet are webbed, for shovelling soil backwards. When at rest, golden moles do not regulate their body temperature, and they have a low metabolic rate, which reduces their energy demands. They have extremely sensitive hearing and vibration detection, and can navigate underground with unerring accuracy.
Western Cape, Little Namaqualand and the Namib desert.
Termites and other insects.
Grant's golden moles are solitary, foraging just under the desert sand surface, mainly at night, causing visible ridges, and also have deeper nest chambers and boltholes.
Breeding takes place in October and November, after which a small litter of 1-2 nearly hairless young are born. They are evicted from the mother's burrow system once they weigh 35-45g.
Listed as Vulnerable, due to disturbance of their habitat and predation by domestic cats and dogs.
Squeals and chirruping during courtship.
This species was only discovered by examining the stomach contents of owls!
Golden moles are part of the ancient group of mammals native to Africa, called the Afrotheria, and are therefore not closely related to European moles. Fossils of them date back to the Eocene, 40 million years ago.