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Road crossing mole
Although I have seen a few mole hills rising before my very eyes and numerous mole hills, I have only ever seen one live mole in the wild. This one, was on a Forrest Way bridge over the river Mersey which leads to the Arpley landfill site. It was a warm and sunny afternoon. From a distance at first I thought it was a rat and as I neared it thought it was a hedgehog. Because the road bridge carries a huge volume of bin wagons, the kerbsides are very high and along each outer side of the public pavement on the bridge and along its length over the river, there is a strong wire mesh fence.
The mole was running along the roadway scurrying over the bridge, unable to climb over the high kerbstones. It was trapped. I jumped off my cycle, to see this unusual sight. Large bin wagons were using the road at the time and I did n’t want to see it crushed. Seeing the size of its claws and knowing it ate earthworms, which meant it had teeth, I was reluctant to pick it up to move it out of harms way! Never having seen a live one before, never mind touch one or pick one up I did not know whether or not it would bite or scratch me with those rather large claws. I was a little ashamed of myself to be honest for a couple of reasons. One was not knowing whether or not it would bite or scratch me in self defence, (armchair nature lover I thought!) and secondly, showing a little fear of such a small creature!
Instead I used my feet to shepherd it to the kerbside. When it reached the kerb it tried frantically to dig its way into the kerbside! As it was unsuccessful every time, it scurried further over the bridge, with me keeping it next to the kerb with my feet as the bin wagons passed me in the road next to the the stones, the drivers looking at me as if I was some kind of head case!
It tried many times to bury itself into the kerbside and eventually found a small hole in the kerbstone into which it disappeared, only to reappear a few seconds later and carry on down the road. Luckily for it, the hole did not go down too far as it would have had to learn to swim pretty quickly as it would have dropped 50 feet into the Mersey!
They can move very fast, which surprised me somewhat and this bridge is quite long, with the bin wagons still crossing. The mole, obviously bewildered and frightened turned around several times returning along the route it has just come along, still with me shepherding it towards the kerb as it strayed out into the middle of the road. In the end, as bin wagons were crossing each other over the bridge angry with my wayward behaviour and one having to stop for me for safety reasons, I decided enough was enough, took off my jacket, folded it up and threw it over the hedgehog. I picked it up and carried it up over the bridge setting it down onto the grassy area nearby, ( the same area I have seen the dead moles) where it immediately in no time at all disappeared into the soft earth.