Photographer's Note

A gruesome sight seen about three years ago during the course of an otherwise very pleasant walk with friends along the banks of the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders.

I can understand that farmers believe that moles cause damage to their land and can also transmit diseases to their livestock and therefore need to be removed, but I can't quite understand why moles which have been caught and killed have to be displayed like trophies on a barbed wire fence. And this was only three of at least a dozen dead moles here. It made me think of the mediaeval practice of displaying the heads of executed thieves and traitors on spikes around a city's walls.

As well as causing considerable cosmetic damage to ornamental lawns and golf courses, moles also cause major problems on farmland too. Their burrowing can disturb water courses causing drainage problems and their churning up of earth can contaminate silage and other animal feeds causing sheep and cattle to die from listeriosis.

Moles can be detrimental in other ways as well. Every British mole-catcher can tell you the story of King William III. On 21 February 1702, he was riding his horse at Hampton Court when it tripped on a molehill and threw him to the ground. He broke his collarbone and developed pneumonia which killed him two weeks later. And it was said that his enemies in Scotland raised toasts to “the little gentleman in the black velvet waistcoat”!

ISO 100, 1/80 sec at f/5.6, focal length 18mm.

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Additional Photos by John Cannon (tyro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1985 W: 427 N: 7659] (30513)
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