The Golden Mole - NaDEET's Endemic Newsletter and Annual Reports
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Golden Mole Newsletter Vol 10 No 2
Golden Mole Newsletter Vol 10 No 1
Grant’s Golden Mole (Eremitalpa granti), namesake of the NaDEET newsletter, is endemic to the Namib Desert. It only weighs about 20 grams, is light brown in colour and fits in the palm of your hand. It eats mainly insects and is active primarily at night time.
Grant’s Golden Mole travels mostly by swimming through the loose Namib dune sand. It can be easily identified as it leaves behind a clear trail. The Golden Mole will however also walk on the sand’s surface in search of food.
The eyeless Golden Mole finds its food by feeling vibrations (microseismic signals) of the grass while it is sandswimming. The insects that the Golden Mole eats are often in this grass and also give off vibrations.
Unlike other mammals, the Golden Mole does not have a constant body temperature. To not waste energy on keeping warm or cooling off in the harsh desert climate, the Golden Mole’s body temperature is always only a few degrees different than the sand’s temperature.
The main food source for the Golden Mole is the termite. In the Namib dunes, a species of termites survives from the roots of ostrich grass. Termites are not only a good source of protein but have a high fat content providing much needed moisture to the Golden Mole.
The Golden Mole has an enormous middle ear. If it were the same size as a human, then its middle ear would be as large as the middle ear of an elephant.