Townsend's mole

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Townsend's mole[1]
Scapanus townsendii.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Eulipotyphla
Family: Talpidae
Genus: Scapanus
S. townsendii
Binomial name
Scapanus townsendii
(Bachman, 1839)
Townsend's Mole area.png
Townsend's mole range

The Townsend's mole (Scapanus townsendii) is a fossorial mammal in the family Talpidae, and is the largest North American mole.

It is found in open lowland and wooded areas with moist soils along the Pacific coast from southwestern British Columbia to northwestern California. This animal's total range in Canada is estimated to be 20 km² (7.7 sq mi). Townsend's mole is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, however in Canada it is considered an endangered species.[3]

This animal has velvety black fur, a pointed snout and a short, thick, a tail with barely any hair. It is about 21 cm (8.3 in) in length including a 4 cm (1.6 in) tail, and weighs about 138 grams (4.9 oz). Its front paws are broad and spade-shaped, specialized for digging; the rear paws are smaller. It has 44 teeth. Its ears are not visible and it has small eyes. It is similar in appearance to the smaller coast mole.

This mole spends most of its time underground, foraging in shallow burrows for earthworms, small invertebrates and plant material. It is active year-round.

This animal is mainly solitary except during mating in late winter. The female has a litter of two to four young in a deep burrow.

This animal was named after the American naturalist John Kirk Townsend.[4] The name was selected at the request of Thomas Nuttall as a patronym to honor Townsend's contribution.[5][4]



  1. ^ Hutterer, R. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 302. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Hammerson, G. & Cannings, S. (2008). "Scapanus townsendii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Species at Risk Public Registry: Townsend's Mole".
  4. ^ a b Bachman 1839, p. 58.
  5. ^ Carraway, Alexander & Verts 1993, p. 6.