Burrows; who dug this one?

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Burrows; who dug this one?

We found this mysterious hole in People's Wood near the old avenue in early June. It looked like a mole hill, but what is the small aperture  in the middle - about 2 inches in diameter? Do moles make air vents? Or was it perhaps made by a burrowing bee or som eother insect?

Claire Browne
Gosh, I would hate to meet

Gosh, I would hate to meet the insect that made that big a hole!  Something out of Jurassic Park?

I am pretty sure the hole was made by a mole.    The question is, why? 

As far as I can tell, moles are one of only two living creatures which are designed to spend nearly their whole lives UNDERGROUND but on dry land, the other being earthworms.   Moles are nearly blind, can't run fast, and can't fight back, so coming up to the surface is VERY DANGEROUS.  There are only four reasons to surface: (1) baby moles leave the nest at 33 days old, to venture out and look for a new home.  Most of them are pretty quickly gobbled up by foxes, badgers, snakes or herons. This happens about May-June.   (2) to gather grasses to line the mole's bedroom.  This has to be done at night.  (3) Male moles - to look for a mate.    Ideally, the male mole will just keep tunneling until he comes across a female's tunnel, but  that takes alot of digging, as there are only about 5 moles per acre.  So emerging and running along the surface would be quicker.   (4) Occasionally, while gardening or walking the dog, I see a mole hill moving and know there is a mole pushing soil up to the surface.  About three times in my life, I have seen the actual mole's nose and front paws - very exciting!

Editor is right about the air in a mole tunnel getting very stuffy.   Unless they do make air vents, or come up to the surface, there is relatively little oxygen down there, but moles' blood streams are adapted to this.   

Aren't they amazing?