Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Interesting Animals: Star-Nosed Mole

Condylura cristata: the star-nosed mole. That is quite a face

These burrowing mammals are obviously named for their elaborately-shaped nose consisting of twenty-two separate appendages. The finger-like projections are highly sensitive and help the mole locate its prey, which includes things like earthworms, while burrowing through the soil. It is believe that these creatures have the best sense of touch among mammals. There is evidence that the star also gives these moles the ability to detect electricity given off by prey in water; the only other mammal able to do this is the platypus. Their senses of hearing and smell are good to great, but their vision is reduced, probably only able to distinguish light from dark.

Unlike most moles, this species prefers wet soil. If they do have access to water, they will often swim to find aquatic prey, which they seem to prefer. A large portion of their diet is usually made up of aquatic segmented worms such as leeches. These moles do a lot of good for wet areas, including aerating soil with their burrowing and keeping populations of many invertebrates in check. They are also prey to several species.

The species is not endangered, and is in fact rather common in its native range. They are found in eastern North America as far south as Georgia and as far north as Newfoundland and Québec. 

Source is Animal Diversity Web. Image is copyright free from Wikimedia Commons.


  1. I've always hated the look of these things.
    HATED...! The stuff of childhood nightmares.

  2. The image makes these look huge given the perspective, but when I saw one in a Youtube video they are quite tiny animals, the one they had easily fit inside the palm of the hand with the fingers rolled over. Very cute when they're that small and the claws and nose aren't nearly as monstrous when the perspective is different.

  3. I always thought they were adorable, but then again a lot of people look at me sideways when I say that about a lot of things. Like my pet cockroaches. And planarians. And barnacles...the list goes on.

    I think this is the video you're referring to?
    Fifty grams is a big one, awww.