The life history and ecology of Townsend's mole Scapanus townsendii (Bachman) in Tillamook County, Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/hd76s3285

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  • Townsend's mole, Scapanus townsendii (Bachman), was studied by live trapping, dead trapping, and observation from July 1961, to July 1963, in Tillamook County, Oregon. This study was initiated at the request of Tillamook County farmers to determine biological facts that would assist them in their efforts to control this small burrowing mammal. The mole's diet consists of 72 percent earthworms and 28 percent roots. Seventy-nine percent of the stomachs examined contained from 200 to 4,000 milligrams of earthworms. One stomach contained 100 percent slugs and six stomachs contained traces of insect skeleton. Eighteen percent of the stomachs examined contained "rootballs." Townsend's mole mates during February and March and the young are born during March and April. The average litter size is three, though litters of two are common. Prenatal litter size compares closely with nest litter size. Young moles weigh approximately five grams at birth and develop to sub-adult weight of 80 grams, ± five grams, in about 30 days, at which time they leave the nest. Adult males averaged 141.65 grams in weight and adult females 119.03 grams. Forty-three nests containing young were located and examined. Three general forms of nest mounds were found. These were the fence post mound, the large single mound, and the aggregate mound. Primary predators of this mole are domestic dogs and cats. Juvenile moles are killed by cattle stepping on the nests and sub-adults are killed by cars on roads during dispersal. Two similar fields, differing in amount of fertilizer applied, were dead trapped to compare mole numbers. The smaller field, which received twice as much manure as the larger, produced 72 moles or 4.8 per acre. The larger field produced 52 moles or 2.6 per acre. Four species of fleas, a single species of ticks, and mites of the suborder Mesostigmata were found on the Townsend mole.
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