Moles spend most of their lives underground. The Townsend mole, the most common species of moles in North America, prefers to live in fields, meadows, pastures and woods shaded by vegetation. The Pacific mole, also known as coast mole, inhabits habitats full of brush and dry wood.
Moles frequently roam golf courses and lawns, and are often considered pests. They live in underground burrows where there is loose, moist soil rich in earthworms and grubs. Adapted to a subterranean lifestyle, moles tolerate high concentrations of carbon dioxide and can reuse the oxygen they inhaled above the ground. They use their polydactyl claws to navigate through the soil and dig tunnels, also known as worm traps.
Moles use their complex arrangement of tunnels to collect prey, such as earthworms, ants, snails, centipedes and other insects and invertebrates. They also eat vegetables, flower seeds, crops and grass roots. They are solitary animals, and while they may share their main tunnels and runs under fences and hedges, they mark and defend their territory diligently.
The moles' tunnels are often near the ground surface, and their burrowing and digging activity improves soil drainage, aeration and nutrients. They are also insectivores, and they feed on many insects that are considered garden pests. Their consistent digging, however, damages the roots of the plants, destroys flowerbeds and disfigures parks and lawns.