Van Zyl's golden mole

Van Zyl's golden mole
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Afrosoricida
Family: Chrysochloridae
Genus: Cryptochloris
Species: C. zyli
Binomial name
Chrysochloris zyli
(Shortridge & Carter, 1938)
Van Zyl's golden mole range

Van Zyl's golden mole (Cryptochloris zyli) is a golden mole endemic to the Western Cape Province, South Africa. It is listed as an endangered species due to habitat loss. Golden moles are an ancient group of mammals who live mostly below ground. They have shiny coats of dense fur and a streamlined, formless appearance. They have no visible eyes or ears; in fact, they are blind – the small eyes are covered with hairy skin. The ears are small and are hidden in the animal's fur.[2]


Van Zyl's golden mole is about 80–90 mm (3–3.5") long and weighs about 20–30 g (0.7–1.0 oz). The face has white markings.The dorsal fur is short and dense and is a dark lead-grey colour, the under-layer of fur being pale grey. The underparts are a uniform drab colour. The claw on the third digit on the forefoot is about 10 mm (0.4 in) long and 4 mm (0.2 in) wide at the base. Claw one and two are slightly shorter making a pointed digging tool.[2]


It lives in the coastal dune belt and adjacent sandy areas. Usually two young are born, sometimes one. Van Zyl's golden mole eats various invertebrates, as well as legless lizards, which grow to a length of about 20 cm (8"). The young of golden moles are born in a grass-lined cavity in the ground. They usually dig their tunnels just below the ground.[2]


Van Zyl's golden mole was initially known only from Compagnies Drift, 16 km (10 mi) inland from Lambert's Bay, northwestern Cape Province, South Africa. Another specimen was collected at Groenriviermond, approximately 150 km (90 mi) farther north along the Namaqualand coast, in 2003. Van Zyl's golden mole is threatened by continued loss of habitat. For example, mining of coastal dunes for alluvial diamonds could lead to habitat degradation. Habitat alteration associated with tourism developments along the west coast could also pose a problem for this species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature now rates this species as "endangered".[1]


  1. 1 2 Bronner, G. (2015). "Cryptochloris zyli". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 Jonathan Kingdon; David Happold; Thomas Butynski; Michael Hoffmann; Meredith Happold; Jan Kalina (2013). Mammals of Africa. A&C Black. pp. 250–252. ISBN 978-1-4081-8996-2.

Bronner, G.N.; Jenkins, P.D. (2005). "Order Afrosoricida". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 

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