Which mammal appears to swim through sand and its pouch faces backwards to prevent it from filling sand?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

One fascinating mammal that appears to swim through sand is the mole. Moles have the incredible ability to create tunnels underground, moving through the soil with remarkable speed and agility. These underground dwellers are specifically adapted for a subterranean lifestyle, with unique characteristics that allow them to navigate through the earth.

As moles burrow through the ground, they do not create permanent burrows like some other animals. Instead, they create temporary tunnels that they constantly dig and modify. It almost seems as though they are swimming through the sand, effortlessly gliding along. This is because moles have specialized anatomical features that enable them to move through the soil in such a way.

One key feature that aids moles in their burrowing is their powerful front limbs. These limbs are equipped with strong claws that allow them to effectively dig through the soil. As moles push their way forward, the sand fills in the tunnel behind them, creating a smooth path for them to navigate through. It’s a remarkable sight to witness these creatures effortlessly moving through the ground, leaving behind a trail of filled-in tunnels.

Another unique characteristic of moles is the positioning of their pouch. Unlike many other pouch-bearing animals, such as marsupials, moles have a backward-facing pouch. This adaptation is specifically designed to prevent the pouch from filling with sand as they burrow. If the pouch faced forward, it would easily get filled with soil, hindering the mole’s ability to dig and move through the ground effectively.

Having a backward-facing pouch allows moles to keep their pouch clean and free from debris. As they dig, the sand is pushed behind them, away from the pouch. This prevents any interference with their reproductive organs or the storage of food for their young ones, which would be detrimental to their survival.

In my personal experience, I have had the opportunity to observe moles in action while working in a garden. It was truly mesmerizing to see how effortlessly and swiftly these creatures moved through the soil. It almost seemed as though they were gliding through the sand, leaving behind a perfectly filled-in tunnel. The backward-facing pouch was particularly intriguing, as it clearly served a practical purpose in preventing sand accumulation.

Moles are fascinating mammals that appear to swim through sand as they burrow underground. Their ability to create temporary tunnels by pushing through the soil and allowing it to fill in behind them is truly remarkable. Additionally, the backward-facing pouch of moles is a unique adaptation that prevents the pouch from filling with sand and interfering with their reproductive organs or food storage. These adaptations enable moles to navigate through the ground with efficiency and precision.