When we flew back from Australia on Air France / Air Korea codeshare in December I took the opportunity to watch a charming documentary in French about moles. The next morning I made notes to ensure I remembered all the fascinating information in the documentary.
Moles are common almost everywhere in France, but they are seldom seen because they spend almost their entire lives in their underground gallery system of tunnels, hunting worms and grubs. They are adapted to the low oxygen in the tunnels in a similar way to high altitude animals like llamas. Even so, the air circulation in the tunnel systems is measurable and is considered remarkable by the researchers who undertook the study.
Moles come to the surface to collect leaves and grass to line their nests, and are very vulnerable when they do so, mainly from foxes and cats. In dry summers their main prey, earthworms, go dormant (a condition known as estivation - the summer equivalent of hibernation). The moles are then obliged to surface and chase insects. These outings are exclusively nocturnal, but if you are in the right place at the right time, with a torch, you might just see a live mole bustling across your lawn.