Accommodation of Casualty Talpa europaea - European mole (Wildlife Casualty Management)

Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / UK Wildlife Casualty Management/ Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords N.B.  This information should be read in association with Wildlife Casualty Accommodation which contains background information together with links to the Electronic Library and Organisations (UK Contacts). The related Species pages contain similar linkages.
Description This page has been prepared for the "UK Wildlife: First Aid and Care" Wildpro module, and is designed for the needs of the following species: Talpa europaea - European Mole:

Transport Container:

  • A small container with adequate ventilation.
    • e.g. a small plastic aquarium with a mesh-ventilated lid incorporating a trap-door.
    • Plastic ice cream tub or margarine container with small holes in the lid for ventilation.
    • Biscuit tin, with small holes in the lid for ventilation.
    • Jam-jar, with small holes in the lid for ventilation.
  • One or two pieces of kitchen roll to line the floor of the container
  • (B151, D25, V.w5, V.w26)

Short term (Immediate/Emergency) Accommodation:

  • Solid-sided container, with a lid or with smooth sides to prevent climbing.
    • A bucket may be used 
  • Earth/peat/leaf-litter for burrowing: to approximately half fill the container. (B199)
  • (B199, B234)

Medium-term (Hospitalisation) Accommodation:

  • Large, escape-proof glass aquarium/vivarium
  • Earth/peat/leaf-litter should always be provided for burrowing: to approximately half fill the container.(B199); damp friable soil about 20cm deep (B234).
  • Provide a nest box.
  • Provide water in a dish, place food directly on the soil.
  • (B10.39.w28, B16.13.w13, B151, D24, D25)

Long-term (Rehabilitation and Permanent) Accommodation:

  • "Moles can be kept in captivity with relative ease (B142)".
  • Long term accommodation described as "state of the art" has been described.
    • This incorporated a plywood nest box with a wire mesh floor and roof and filled with hay, an aluminium feeding box with a wire mesh lid containing a shallow food dish and a water bottle and between these an area one metre long, 37.5cm wide and filled to 7cm deep with fine light soil; this area was topped with plate glass to allow viewing of the occupant. The three areas were connected using PVC tubing, internal diameter 5cm and lined with wire mesh.
  • (B234).
Appropriate Use (?)
  • Short-term (Immediate / Emergency) Accommodation is designed to be used for a short period of time only, e.g. prior to examination, to allow basic first-aid to be carried out, while an animal requires intensive care, or while specialist accommodation is being prepared.
    • The most important requirements are warmth, quiet and dark or dim lighting.
  • Medium-term (Hospitalisation) Accommodation is designed for the short-term care of individual animals or groups of animals, particularly during treatment and rehabilitation.
    • Hospital accommodation is commonly constructed with hygiene and easy cleaning as the main considerations, but the specific needs of the patients, including behavioural needs, should also be considered.
  • Long-term (Rehabilitation and Permanent) Accommodation facilities for wildlife are generally larger and more complex than accommodation designed only for temporary occupancy.
    • In general this type of accommodation is not suitable for animals which require daily treatment.
    • A period in rehabilitation accommodation is important when an animal has been hospitalised for some time.
  • Always provide appropriate and sufficient substrate (such as soil) for burrowing
  • If an animal is maintained in long-term care accommodation for a substantial period of time, the animal must have some form of environmental enrichment to encourage natural behaviours (possibly through food presentation techniques or cage furniture that encourages activity). This is to reduce the risk of boredom as the animal becomes accustomed to its enclosure and the possible development of behavioural problems such as stereotypies (abnormal repetitive movements such as pacing etc.). (V.w6)
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
  • Provision of a substrate for burrowing is important.
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
  • Appropriate-sized solid-walled container such as a glass aquarium/vivarium
  • Earth, peat or leaf-litter as a substrate
Expertise level / Ease of Use
  • Basic accommodation is not difficult to provide.
  • Expertise may be required to construct appropriate long-term accommodation.
Cost/ Availability
  • The cost is generally low, unless elaborate long-term accommodation is constructed
Legal and Ethical Considerations
  • Accommodation for casualty wild animals should be designed to minimise the stress on the animal and to minimise the risk of injury to that animal.
  • A wild animal in captivity is protected under the same welfare legislation as domestic animals, e.g. Protection of Animals Acts 1911-2000; under this legislation it is an offence to treat a captive animal cruelly or to cause it unnecessary suffering.
    • This includes an obligation to provide proper attention and care.
    • The keeper has a duty to keep all wildlife casualties in a fit manner, in accommodation of a size which allows reasonable movement and with an environment suitable for its normal way of life.
    • (J35.147.w1, P19.2.w1, D27, D28)
  • Accommodation which does not fulfil the physiological and psychological requirements of the animal and results in an inadequate level of fitness at the time of release may seriously compromise the survival ability of that animal. Release of an animal which is unfit may be an offence under the Abandonment of Animals Act 1960 (J35.147.w1, W5.Jan01).
  • Risks to human health, both physical and risk of zoonotic illness must be minimised: Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974.
  • An offence may be committed under article 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 if a species on Schedule 9 of that Act, or a species not ordinarily resident in the UK is allowed to escape from accommodation in which it is being housed.
  • See: Legislation relating to Wildlife Casualties.
Author Debra Bourne
Referee Becki Lawson and Suzanne Boardman

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