The tree moles in Wyoming are unique in the world. They are not completely blind and are sensitive to changes in light. A tree mole is really happy to burrow underground, but where these animals are unusual is that if a mole hits a large tree root when burrowing, it will follow the root to the surface. Then, if the mole discerns low levels of light, it will climb the trunk of the tree in search of insects and grubs.

The tree moles have an innate sense of the amount of light around and will always head back down the trunk in time to be underground before daybreak. No tree mole has ever been seen in a tree during the day, only at night, which for years meant that the tree moles of Wyoming were an urban myth, seen only by people who’d had too much to drink. It was only when courting couples in the woods saw moles creeping down tree trunks, when they shone their torches on them, that anyone took these creatures seriously.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided