Summertunneling activity of mole rats (Spalax ehrenbergi) in a sloping field with moisture gradient

I. Zuri*, J. Terkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The blind mole rat (Spalax ehrenbergi) is a solitary, aggressive fossorial rodent which digs and inhabits its own individual tunnel system. The location of mounds, which are constructed by mole rats while tunneling, provides circumstantial evidence for the animal's location and digging activity. In the present research fresh mounds were counted during the summer every two days in a sloping field and mapped, to determine the amount and direction of tunneling activity of each mole rat. By consistently monitoring the location of fresh mounds we were able to distinguish between mounds that belonged to different individuals. Soil was sampled in order to determine moisture levels at different locations and depths. It was found that mole rats dug along the moisture gradient towards moist soils. Although it was thought that the winter is the main activity season of the mole rats, it is suggested that when moist soil is available in summer, together with a sufficient food supply, mole rats increase their burrowing activity in order to gather food, find mates and breed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-54
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


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