Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
Search the Archive

  Soricomorpha · Talpidae · Scapanus townsendii
   Smithsonian Institution
   Copyright Notice
   Privacy Notice
Scapanus townsendii

Townsend's Mole

Order: Soricomorpha
Family: Talpidae

Click to see a 3-D view.
Image of Scapanus townsendii
Click to enlarge. (52 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

The largest moles in North America, weighing in at 100—171 g, Townsend's Moles live only in the lowlands on the western side of the Cascade Mountains, from northwestern California to extreme southwestern British Columbia. One population occurs in alpine meadows in the Olympic Mountains of Washington. The fur of this species is particularly soft and velvety and was once used commercially. Townsend's Moles excavate permanent deep, extensive tunnels as well as temporary ones on the surface. These excavations result in large mounds; as many as 805 mounds per hectare have been reported.

Also known as:
Snow Mole

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are larger than females.

Average: 225 mm males; 196 mm females
Range: 207-237 mm males; 183-209 mm females

Average: 142 g males; 87 g females
Range: 100-171 g males; 50-110 g females


Bachman, J., 1839.  Description of several new species of American quadrupeds, p. 58.  Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Part 1, 8:57-74.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Scapanus townsendii