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A rare albino mole? Experts really dig it
WHAT you are looking at is a one in 50,000 anomaly.
This is an albino mole – due to a rare genetic mutation it is lacking pigment in its fur, skin and eyes.
Oxford pest controller Rob Eckton catches between 50 and 100 moles every week and this is the first albino he has ever seen.
He discovered it when he was at a house in the village of Stanton St John, clearing out the mole traps, and something unusual caught his eye.
“It was almost golden in colour,” he said, “I didn’t know what it was.
“It came out like a goldfish, a pretty little thing.”
He believed they were a one in 50,000 anomaly.
The British Traditional Molecatchers Association produces a pewter albino mole lapel pin – available to those who have caught an albino mole and had a picture and details of it published on their website.
Association spokesman Brian Alderton said: “These are extremely rare. There are lots of examples on our website, but very few are pure white.
“Last year a stuffed one fetched £600 on eBay. “We have never handed out a albino mole pin to a member. ”
He thought that only two or three pure white moles were caught each year.
However, the association’s website is now conducting a survey to find the distribution of albino moles throughout the UK.
This rarest of rodents has now gone into specialist storage – Mr Eckton’s freezer – only to be brought out on special occasions and to amaze dinner guests.
Mr Eckton said: “Mole catching is a bit of a black art. There aren’t a lot of people who can catch them.
“You must identify where the main run routes are, by tracing back from the hills, and then you dig until you find the run.”
The albino was caught using a traditional Duffus break back trap.
Moles live in odd shift patterns, moving about for four hours and then sleeping for four.
Even non-albino moles can vary from being jet black to grey in colour.
Visit the British Traditional Molecatchers Association at britishmolecatchers.co.uk
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