TECHNIQUE

Catching and Handling of 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 Handling and Transport 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.

Catching:

  • Generally easy to catch unless on good ground for digging (into which they may quickly burrow).
  • Grab the mole by the scruff (loose skin on its back).

Handling:

  • May be lifted by the tail briefly, then the other hand placed over the mole's back with the fingers around its body.
  • Can be held by the scruff (between thumb and forefinger).

(B151, D25)

Restraint for examination and treatment:

The following information is generally applicable for small mammals.

  • Brief examination and minor treatment may be carried out using physical restraint.
  • Alternatively, and if lack of movement is important, the use of chemical restraint may be advisable.

General Anaesthesia and Sedation:

 Suggested protocols for sedation and general anaesthesia include:

  • As with other small mammals, general anaesthesia may be induced in an anaesthetic chamber.
  • Mask induction of general anaesthesia may also be used, but this can lead to handling stress.
  • Isoflurane is the anaesthetic agent of choice.
  • Halothane may be used as an alternative to isoflurane.
  • Maintain on isoflurane inhalation anaesthesia with oxygen (no nitrous oxide), delivered via a face mask e.g. made from a plastic syringe barrel.
  • Use a low-resistance circuit such as a T-piece.
  • Allowing some leakage from the face mask further reduces resistance;
    • Some form of active scavenging should be used to reduce atmospheric pollution.
  • Avoid excessively high flow rates of oxygen, as this increases heat loss and the risk of hypothermia.
  • Consider fluid therapy during general anaesthesia of small mammals to replace water losses; subcutaneous fluids would be appropriate.
  • Action should be taken to reduce heat loss of small mammals during general anaesthesia, to reduce the risk of hypothermia e.g. keep on a heated pad during general anaesthesia and recovery.
  • (B205)
  • Starvation prior to general anaesthesia should not be performed in these species.
Appropriate Use (?)
  • Catch only if necessary.
  • Handling of wild animals should be minimised.
  • Consider design of accommodation and timing of treatments to minimise requirements for capture and handling.
  • Consider whether physical or chemical restraint is more appropriate.
Notes
  • Care to protect sensitive nose.
  • Gloves may be advisable.
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
  • May bite.(V.w28)
  • May be lifted by tail for short time only.
  • Considerable risk of hypothermia when small mammals are anaesthetised.(B123, B205)
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
  • Nets may be obtained from specialist suppliers, veterinary suppliers or good pet stores; their cost is variable.
  • Gloves, if preferred, are widely available.
  • Nets may be hand-constructed from readily-available inexpensive materials.
Expertise level / Ease of Use
  • Handling of moles is not difficult.
Cost/ Availability
  • Nets may be obtained from specialist suppliers, veterinary suppliers or good pet stores; their cost is variable.
  • Gloves and glass jars are widely available.
  • Nets may be hand-constructed from readily-available inexpensive materials.
  • Some drugs used for chemical restraint are expensive.
  • Drugs used for chemical restraint may only be available to veterinary surgeons or other licensed persons.
Legal and Ethical Considerations
Author Debra Bourne
Referee Becki Lawson and Suzanne Boardman
References B123, B151, B205, D25, V.w28

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