Juliana's golden-mole belongs to an ancient group of mammals known as the golden-moles. The compact, streamlined body is covered with sleek fur; the upperparts of the fur are a cinnamon-brown, slightly darker towards the back and becoming paler towards the flanks (7). Anatomically, the golden-mole is highly specialised for life underground; strong forelimbs equipped with powerful pick-like claws and a leathery hardened nose pad are used to push through sandy soil whilst burrowing underground (3). Burrow systems consist of deeper permanent tunnels connecting nests, and a number of superficial foraging tunnels, which are characterised by distinctive ridges of soil along the surface (6). These animals live completely underground, they are weak diggers and are confined to sandy soils through which they 'swim' in search of prey. They lack external ears and the eyes, which are not used, are covered with a layer of skin (3). There is some controversy about the taxonomic relationship of the golden-moles to other mammals. Recent genetic evidence suggests that they belong to an ancient group of African mammals, known as the Afrotheria, that also includes elephants, hyraxes and sea cows (amongst others), rather than to the moles from which they gain their common name (4).
- Length: 100 mm (6)
- 35 g (6)