Some of them are small fun projects, while some are serious ones.

Just as a photo captures the world differently from every angle, I hope my research could capture the world.

  • Minseok 'Joseph' Kim

[NOP] 2. Mole Species Identification and Activity Investigation

2019년 11월 12일 업데이트됨

In my <Thematic Research> summer session class, I had a "brilliant" idea:

"Why don't we catch some moles?"

Moles (those rodents that dig holes underground) were frequently seen in school campus over the summer. Mole tracks were seen everywhere in forest trails, and witnesses continued to increase. Therefore, I was curious. How could these rodents dig holes? What kind of rodents live around here?

Not knowing what species are living, I roamed around the forest to measure and identify mole tracks.

Mole track

The average outer diameter was 11~13 cm, while the inner was 6~8 cm. Their tracks were easily founded near trails, where plants were uncovered and the ground was pounded enough to see cracks opening up. There is high possibility that the tracks extend beyond the trails.

My plan was to catch a mole unharmed, to identify the species and to photograph and record their morphology. Since most traps selling online was harming the organism, I'd devised a trap that will not harm the animal, but will be able to keep it under control.

Here is the 3D scheme I designed for the mole trap.

With this design, I created a trap out of PVC pipes and plastic boards, along with clips and coin (to put weight on the one-way door). The idea was to have two one-way doors, where the mole can only go in but cannot get out.

Installation of my mole trap, taken by Alexander Ganse

Once a good spot (a recent mole track) was found, this trap was installed. Dirt was put inside and on the entrance to cover the trap naturally. The hole on top was drilled to monitor any change every day.

The trap was monitored and for a week. However, no moles were trapped in my design; same for different locations. Turns out, the moles dug a hole underneath the trap and circumvented my trap (I lost...). All the work, but no results. Not all research yields good results. It was fun anyways.

Luckily, I got a redemption. A month had passed, and Mr. Ganse had found a dead mole near the English building. Here, I was able to take clear photos, observe morphology.

Dead mole (mogera wogura), found by Alexander Ganse.

It's front paws were interesting: it had wide flaps with pointy ends that makes them specialized in digging.

The species were identified as Mogera wogura. Some researchers online consider it Mogera robusta, a subspecies of Mogera wogura. It had a lot of different names (i.e. Mogera robusta, Talpa robuta). Turns out the nomenclature for this species of moles were used differently throughout the years. Confusing, but good to know.

Next time I see a mole track, I might put it down on my notebook again. This time, I'll try to win.

Every photo on this page is taken by me, Minseok 'Joseph' Kim.