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any of 18 species of blind and tailless burrowing insectivores that live in sub-Saharan Africa. They are sufficiently different from other moles and insectivores to constitute their own mammalian order. Golden moles have a cylindrical body, short limbs, and no external tail; tail vertebrae are beneath the skin. Their triangular head ends in a leathery pad at the muzzle; their degenerate eyes are covered with skin and fur; and they lack external ears. The skin is tough and loosely attached to the body. The four front digits bear strong claws, two of which are long and shaped like a pickax. The five hind digits are connected by membranous skin. The fur is long and slightly coarse in two species but short, soft, and dense in all others. It ranges in colour from dark gray through brownish tones and chestnut to black, with violet, green, yellow, or bronze iridescence.