I know that many gardeners despise moles for the damage they can do to lawns and gardens. But here is a surprise for you. Golden Moles are not the culprits. Yes, they do push up small mounds from their burrows, but the real problem animals are Molerats.
Golden Moles versus Molerats
Besides both burrowing tunnels there are many differences between the Golden Moles and Molerats. Golden Moles eat insects and small reptiles which is good news for gardeners. Molerats, however, are vegetarian and feed off plant matter such as tubers, roots and bulbs. They are a pest to gardeners and farmers. Unfortunately, Golden Moles are more or less innocent victims when a gardener decides to try ridding his garden of “moles.”
Golden Moles are nocturnal and do spend time on the surface looking for food. When they are exposed like this, they are vulnerable to owls and other predators. The Golden Mole in the picture was caught by one of my dogs and deposited in the driveway. Fortunately, it was not injured. I took it back to the lawn and watched as it disappeared under ground.
There are around 15 species of these moles found in South Africa. Each area has its own mix of a few species that are separated from other species. They mainly occur in the coastal regions although some species are found inland.