Moles are small mammals adapted to a subterranean lifestyle (i.e., fossorial). They have cylindrical bodies; velvety fur; very small, inconspicuous ears and eyes; reduced hindlimbs; and short, powerful forelimbs with large paws adapted for digging.
The term mole is especially and most properly used for “true moles” of the Talpidae family in the order Eulipotyphla, which are found in most parts of North America, Asia, and Europe, although it may also refer to unrelated mammals of Australia and southern Africa that have convergently evolved the “mole” body plan. The term is not applied to all talpids; e.g., desmans and shrew-moles differ from the common definition of “mole”.
Moles are known pests to human activities such as agriculture, lawncare, and gardening. However, they do not eat plant roots; they only cause damage indirectly as they eat earthworms and other small invertebrates in the soil. However, while moles may be viewed as pests, they do provide many positive contributions to the soil, gardens, and the ecosystem. Benefits include soil aeration, feeding on slugs and other insects that do eat plant roots, and providing prey for other wildlife.