Calcochloris leucorhinusCongo golden mole

Geographic Range

Congo golden moles are found in sub-Saharan Africa, ranging from Northern Central African Republic to Southern Angola, with western boundaries near Cameroon and eastern boundaries near the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Bronner, 2013)


This species is strictly fossorial and prefers lowland equatorial forests and savannas. They are able to live in dry environments and prefer to burrow in lose, sandy soil. Congo golden moles dig burrows at the base of trees, where they forage for invertebrate preys. (Bronner, 2013)

Physical Description

This species weighs between 25 to 33 grams, and its body length is between 82 to 100 millimeters. The basal metabolic rate, measured in VO2, is 0.2 watts. The animal is endothermic and has bilateral symmetry. Its body is cylindrical and its head is triangular and possess well-developed front claws for digging. They lack external eyes and tail. The pelage is a yellow color and appears shiny under the sun. There is no observable sexual dimorphism in this species. (Bronner, 2013)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range mass
    25 to 33 g
    0.88 to 1.16 oz
  • Range length
    82 to 100 mm
    3.23 to 3.94 in


Little is known about the mating system and reproduction of golden mole species. In general, species in this family are polygynous, where males mate with more than one female. (Schoeman, et al., 2004)

Reproductive behavior of the Congo golden mole has not been studied. The closely related golden mole, Amblysomus hottentotus, breeds aseasonally throughout the year and fecundity increases during the summer when there is increased rain. The mean litter size is 1 to 2 pups and the gestation period is 4 to 6 weeks. Golden moles are born weighing around 35 to 45 grams, and the female parent starts nursing for up to 45 days. By 2 to 3 months after birth, the golden mole pups will become independent. (Schoeman, et al., 2004)

  • Breeding interval
    Amblysomus hottentotus breed aseasonally
  • Breeding season
    Amblysomus hottentotus breed year-round
  • Average number of offspring
  • Range gestation period
    4 to 6 weeks
  • Range weaning age
    45 (high) days
  • Range time to independence
    2 to 3 months

Offspring are altricial and depend on care from female parent for about 45 days after birth (Schoeman, et al., 2004)


The lifespan of the Congo golden mole has not been studied. The closely related golden mole, Eremitalpa granti, has a life span of around 2 years. (Fielden, et al., 1990)


Behavior of the Congo golden mole has not been studied. The closely related golden mole, Amblysomus hottentotus has solitary and defensive behaviors. As a burrowing animal, they can burrow as deep as 50 centimeters below ground, where tunnels are semi-permanent. Most tunnels have two layers, which are an upper layer of tunnels for foraging and a lower layer of chambers for shelter and caring for young.Their burrowing activities depend significantly on food supply of invertebrates in the soil, which varies seasonally due to rainfall. They are nocturnal species and most active at sunrise and sunset. (Fielden, et al., 1990)

Home Range

Home range of the Congo golden mole has not been studied. The closely related golden mole, Amblysomus hottentotus, was observed to have increase the size of their burrow systems during rain seasons due to more fertile soil and home ranges shifted often. Burrow system lengths vary from 9.5 to 240 meters and depth range from 10 to 50 centimeters. Amblysomus hottentotus were observed to aggressively defend their territories, while some home range overlap is tolerated. (Fielden, et al., 1990)

Communication and Perception

Congo golden moles are blind. They have enlarged middle ear ossicles, particularly of the malleus. Although not as large as some other closely related golden moles, the enlarged middle ear ossicles help amplify vibrations of surrounding animals and help the moles locate themselves underground. (Crumpton, et al., 2015)

Food Habits

Golden moles are insectivores, and are very sensitive to vibrations produced by their prey. They forage in the tunnels they burrowed that are connected to their nesting chambers. (Bronner, 2013)

  • Animal Foods
  • eggs
  • insects
  • terrestrial worms


Anti-predator adaptations have not been studied in the gold mole species. Predators of Congo golden moles have not been studied. A closely related species, Eremitalpa gvanti namibensis, has predators including owls, jackals, domestic dogs, cats (Fielden, et al., 1990)

  • Anti-predator Adaptations
  • cryptic

Ecosystem Roles

The golden moles dig extensive burrow systems for shelter and foraging, directly changing the landscape in the savanna and forest ecosystems. They play an important role in keeping insect and invertebrate populations in check in their ecosystem by directly preying on them. Redistribution of soils through burrowing done by golden moles have shown to be beneficial for reptiles and invertebrates, providing them with underground passageways and shelter from predators (Bronner, 2013)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There is potential economic benefit from the golden moles through pest control by consuming pests such as termites. (Stuart, 1995)

  • Positive Impacts
  • controls pest population

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Habitat fragmentation of golden moles is largely due to anthropogenic development, thus to conserve this species some development of great economic value cannot proceed. (Stuart, 1995)

Conservation Status

There is deficient population data on Calcochloris leucorhina. A closely related species, Calcochloris obtusirostris is listed as least concern on the IUCN list. (Maree, 2015)


Amanda Tang (author), University of Washington, Laura Prugh (editor), University of Washington, Tanya Dewey (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map


uses sound to communicate


young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.


animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

female parental care

parental care is carried out by females


forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


active during the night


having more than one female as a mate at one time


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

soil aeration

digs and breaks up soil so air and water can get in


lives alone


uses touch to communicate


defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.


A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.


movements of a hard surface that are produced by animals as signals to others


reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.

year-round breeding

breeding takes place throughout the year


Bronner, G. 2013. Mammals of Africa. London, UK: Bloomsburry Publishing.

Crumpton, N., N. Kardjilov, R. Asher. 2015. Convergence vs. specialization in the ear region of moles (mammalia). Journal of Morphology. Journal of Morphology, 8: 900-914.

Fielden, L. 1991. Home range and movements of the Namib Desert golden mole,Eremitalpa granti namibensis(Chrysochloridae). Journal of Zoology, 4: 675-686.

Fielden, L., M. Perrin, G. Hickman. 1990. Feeding ecology and foraging behaviour of the Namib Desert golden mole,Eremitalpa granti namibensis(Chrysochloridae). Journal of Zoology, 3: 367-389.

Maree, S. 2015. "Huetia leucorhina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015" (On-line). IUCN. Accessed May 14, 2021 at 2.RLTS.T40597A21288887.en.

Schoeman, S., M. Bennet, A. Van der Merwe. 2004. Aseasonal reproduction in the Hottentot golden mole, Amblysomus hottentotus (Afrosoricida: Chrysochloridae) from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. African Zoology, 39: 41-46.

Stuart, C. 1995. Chris and Tilde Stuart's Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Struik Publishers.