South Africa’s rarest: The Cape golden mole

Posted on 4 August 2021 By Anita Froneman

The Cape golden mole is a small, blind and insectivorous mammal which is not related to rodent moles.

What makes these tiny creatures interesting is that they have no visible eyes. (Their ‘eyes’ are overgrown with fur, but they can distinguish between light and dark).

Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world where the golden mole species occur. The Cape golden mole can be found in the southwestern Cape from the Cape Peninsula and extending up the Namaqualand coastal plains to Port Nolloth. Strangely enough, they may be found on Robben Island too.

Credit: Gary Bronner via EWT

While they are not the prettiest creatures, these moles vary in colour and their soft fur coats can be grey and dark brown to very pale, with a pronounced sheen of bronze, green or violet.

They are common in parks, gardens and cultivated lands, and are known to readily invade lawns and golf courses on the hunt for insects.

This species is currently on the IUCN Red List, meaning it is threatened, but not critically endangered. Their biggest threats are destruction of habitat or being eaten by domestic pets such as dogs and cats.

During the winter months, the moles breed and have litters usually consisting of two pups, which can measure as a little as 4 centimetres at birth! The offspring are born almost hairless, and are suckled by their mothers until they near maturity.

Sources: Siyabona Africa and Endangered Wildlife Trust

Image: Instagram

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