Fun Talpidae Facts For Kids

Oluniyi Akande
Nov 27, 2022 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Read these fascinating Talpidae facts for kids that you are sure to love.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.6 Min

The Talpidae family consists of shrew moles, desmans, moles, and several other types of insectivorous mammals who belong to the order of Eulipotyphila. These animals can be seen digging the soil to live underground and some of these species also live in water. There are almost 42 different types of species of this order.

The majority of the Talpidae species are partially blind or almost blind and therefore rely on their sense of touch, feel, smell, and other senses in order to survive and prey. This is one of the reasons that makes them stay mostly underground or underwater and invisible to people. Even amongst Talpidae, there are major differences in the characteristics of the species.

Moles and desmans have different habits or ways to survive. Even though both are nocturnal animals, moles can be seen being active both during day and night but moving around underground and in darker spaces. Desmans while basically aquatic survive by creating burrows in river-banks and foraging for food in the waterbodies.

If you want to discover more about Talpidae, read on. For more relatable content, check out these mole facts and naked mole facts for kids.

Talpidae Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Talpidae?

The family of Talpidae consists of various intermediate forms of small insectivorous mammals that are subterranean or aquatic. The Talpidae family consists of shrew mole, moles, star-nosed moles that stay underground in dry regions, while desmans are aquatic.

What class of animal does a Talpidae belong to?

The Talpidae belongs to the class Mammalia and like any other mammal they live in burrows that are their nests and where they lay eggs to reproduce.

How many Talpidaes are there in the world?

Several Talpids are found across the globe and there are estimated 42 species and seven genera, but there isn't an accurate number of Talpids present in the world.

Where does a Talpidae live?

The Talpidae habitat can be found across the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemispheres of Asia, Europe, Africa, Eurasia, Oceania, Russia, North America, South America, and Central America, southern Canada, and into the south of northern Mexico. There are various types of the Talpidae species and can be found almost all over the world except Ireland and Antarctica.

What is a Talpidae's habitat?

The Talpidae species are subterranean as well as aquatic animals. Talpidae distribution can be found in areas of woodland, grassland, riparian habitats, deserts, and near aquatic bodies. Different species have different preferences. Moles are completely subterranean animals while water and underground Talpids can be found living near water bodies. Some can be found in household gardens, while some tend to never come out from underground or the burrows that they create as they can sustain on earthworms. Very few species can also be seen in dry areas like deserts.

Who does Talpidae live with?

The Talpidae is a solitary mammal and lives alone most of the time, except in times of reproduction where they mate with their species and leave once the babies hatch and can fend for themselves. No more than three to five animals of this species can be found in the same area at a time.

How long does a Talpidae live?

The species does not live for long and have a lifespan of about two to six years at most. The Talpidae life is very strenuous as they are mostly blind and are hunted by bigger wild animals. According to the conservation status, it is also found that most species have become Vulnerable or Endangered and this is because of the rise in construction, taking way the soil that is habitable for Talpids.

How do they reproduce?

The family Talpidae, be it shrew mole, desmans, moles,star-nosed mole or any other species of the order Eulipotyphila, are solitary animals and tend to stay alone. The only time when Talpids come together is when they have to mate. During the season of spring, they breed, and after the gestation period of about 30-40 days, two to five naked babies are born. The babies are placed in a safe and dry nest with enough supplies and leaves to keep them dry. In the case of Talpids who reside near aquatic bodies, the burrows where the newborns stay are kept as dry sleeping chambers whilst the adults reside in muddy burrows. After the babies can fend for themselves, Talpids tend to separate and live a solitary life again.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN Red List, some Talpids are of Least Concern while some are Critically Endangered, Vulnerable, or  Endangered. Due to the conditions of soil degrading as well construction everywhere, these human activities make it unsuitable for these small animals to live underground or by river beds.

Talpidae Fun Facts

What do Talpidaes look like?

There are several different species under the family of Talpidae, but the common characteristics that most of them share are flattened skulls, with a long and narrow hairless snout. As they live underground, they have spindled-shaped bodies with small eyes almost covered by their skin. Their legs are short and have no external ears.

Shrew moles and star-nosed mole have limbs that help them to dig burrows. The forelimbs are rotated so that their elbows are pointed outside and the palms of the front feet are pointed rearward. They have strong claws and have a dilambdodont dental formula which is suited for their diet. They also have dark velvety fur which enables them to move underground without getting stuck anywhere or collect dirt on them.

The mole comes out of the burrow and peaks out with its snout out on the soil.

How cute are they?

They are not your Scottish fold cat, but if you like hairy-tailed moles that will destroy your garden then they are quite adorable. People tend to adopt or keep smaller animals like rats, guinea pigs, and such as pets as they are quite small and yet adorable, but underground Talpids are found to look quite the opposite with their hairless snout and shaggy body and can look quite scary for kids.

How do they communicate?

As they are mostly blind, it might be difficult for them to communicate but their acute sense of other things like feel, smell, and hearing makes it easy for them to communicate with one another or move around. They tend to make sounds that makes it easier for others to find them and the sense of smell in Talpids is acute, helping them look for prey too.

How big is a Talpidae?

Talpids are mostly small and can vary from  6-24 in (15.2-61 cm) depending on their species. The hairy-tailed mole is almost two times smaller than an Indian giant squirrel. For their habitat, the Talpidae size needs to be this way so that they are able to create burrows underground for them to sustain. Being half-blind or almost blind makes it difficult for them to stay outside as they are easy prey.

How fast can a Talpidae run?

Talpids are not fast runners because they depend on their sense of smell and touch, being almost visibly impaired or blind. What they lack in sight, they make up for as diggers. They are extremely fast diggers and can create molehills really fast that are 6-12 in (15.2-30.5 cm) deep and 3-6 in (7.6-15.2 cm) tall. After the soil is dug out, the burrow that is created in the ground is where Talpids reside.

How much does a Talpidae weigh?

The Talpidae range of weight is about 0.4-7.8 oz (10-220 g). They are not like muskrats that are rodents and small and yet weigh up to 4.4 lb (2 kg).

What does a mole eat?

Moles are omnivores and mostly the Talpidae diet consists of insects, worms, centipedes, and also roots of some plants and trees found in areas they choose to live in.

What would you call a baby Talpidae?

Babies of mammals are normally named similar and for Talpidae species, newborns are called pups. Yes, not only babies of dog breeds like the Victorian bulldog are called pups but also other newborns mammals are known by this term.

What do they eat?

After the gestation period, when the newborns start to develop, underground Talpids like shrew moles and the star-nosed mole are found to be feeding on earthworms or what their parent mole provides until they can prey themselves. In the case of desmans, the newborns stay in dry chambers near aquatic bodies and the parent feeds them with earthworms or small aquatic insects. They usually get their water from their plant-based food.

Are they dangerous?

Moles are not dangerous unless they are attacked or captured. They become aggressive and attack for self-defense. Other than that, they are pretty harmless creatures. They can be dangerous or harmful to your lawns or gardens as they create molehills to live in, uprooting everything in the way.

Would they make a good pet?

Not all animals can survive when captured as pets and moles being solitary animals don't do well when tried to be kept as pets. More than often that not, they can die due to captivity. Animals like Talpids survive on their sense of sound, touch, and smell, being almost or completely blind. If they are kept as pets, then the owner would have to create the same environment for them as the wild which can be difficult.

Did you know...

The term 'making a mountain out of a molehill' is quite famous, but what it means is when moles dig their burrows they take out all the soil and create a molehill outside, digging all the dirt out. The meaning of the phrase literally means that a small issue shouldn't be dug out so much that it becomes 100 times bigger. Moles and other subterranean animals like shrew moles, star-nosed moles, and other Talpid family animals tend to dig out the soil and end up creating a molehill outside the soil. After the burrow is created they keep on hollowing out the soil, so that they can inhabit inside.

What animals does the Talpidae include?

The family Talpidae consists of various types of hairy tailed mole, shrew mole, star-nosed mole, sub-family like desmans,  and other insectivorous mammals that reside both near aquatic bodies as well as drier surroundings.

What is the order of Talpidae?

Talpidae belongs to the order of Eulipotyphila, translating to fat and blind, and that is the acute representation of animals that fall under the species of Talpidae. Most of the animals are fat and small and are almost blind or completely blind. They also have to be insectivores which makes the Talpidae a part of the Eulipotyphila order.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our fennec fox fun facts and golden jackal interesting facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Talpidae coloring pages.

Talpidae Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Insects, worms, centipedes, slugs, fish, and roots of plants

What Type of Animal were they?

Omnivore

Average Litter Size?

2-5

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.4-7.8 oz (10-220 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

woodland, grassland, and near aquatic-bodies

Where Do They Live?

asia, europe, africa, eurasia, Oceania, russia, north america, south america, central america, southern canada, and south of northern mexico

How Long Were They?

6-24 in (15.2-61 cm)

How Tall Were They?

2-16 in (5-40.6 cm)

Class

Mammalia

Genus

Talpa

Family

Talpidae

Scientific Name

51 species

What Do They Look Like?

Small and dark-furred with hairless snouts

Skin Type

Dark-furred

What Are Their Main Threats?

foxes, hawks, coyotes, snakes, and owls

What is their Conservation Status?

Varies from Least Concern to Critically Endangered
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Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

Oluniyi Akande picture

Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

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