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Star-nosed Mole » Characteristics, Diet and Reproduction

The Star-nosed Mole is a rare mammal that stands out from the rest because of its sense of touch, so extraordinary that it surpasses the imagination. It is an animal whose scientific name is Condylura Cristata, an almost underwater species of mole.

Distinguishing features of the Star-nosed Mole

Its small size of 17 cm on average results in a compact and fibrous body, in fact it weighs about 50 grams.

Its four legs are equipped with 5 long claws, strong enough to make their way through muddy, dry soil or even ice and snow. Its coat is brown, short and abundant. The tail has a conical shape, complementing its cylindrical body. Its vision is almost null.

On the other hand, without a doubt what steals all eyes from this rare mammal is its nose, which has 22 protuberances similar to the tentacles of an octopus and which serve to perceive the world around it through touch.

At first sight its appearance could give us a bad impression, but this extraordinary tool has about 100 thousand nerve endings, this becomes even more impressive if we consider that its nose is smaller than a fingertip. This takes the touch of the Star Nose Mole about 5 times higher than that of human beings.

Its “tentacles” are constantly moving in search of electrical signals emitted by potential prey as well as by the beings that inhabit its environment. How could this ability replace vision, so important for making an accurate picture of things? It doesn’t really replace it, but it is fair to say that its ability to generate images from electrical impulses is very sophisticated and accurate.

For humans it would be like seeing a well-lit city from space, although we would not be able to distinguish the colours and shapes of objects precisely, we could identify which avenues and roads and the directional sense of these.

Thus, the Star Nose Mole cannot see the skin color of its prey, but it can “see” the shape of its body by detecting electrical impulses without the need to touch the prey with those tentacles.

As for its behavior we have that this animal is exclusively of diurnal habits.

Where does this Rare Mammal live?

This rare animal inhabits the almost semi-cold wet and temperate lands of the world. Like all other moles, the starry-nosed one skilfully digs tunnels.

It lives underground, with sporadic exits to the surface, until it has a subaquatic entrance in its burrow, which it builds with several entrances/exits.

Star Nose Mole Diet

The Condylura Cristata feeds on small insects, such as worms and others. When hunting it often moves its head up and down, which makes it easier to detect prey.

It has the distinction of being the most voracious animal on earth since it takes approximately 120 milliseconds to gobble up its prey, but as if that were not enough, its tiny brain decides in just 8 thousandths of a second whether the prey it has found can be eaten or not.

Reproduction of the Star-nosed Mole

The Star-nosed Mole begins its breeding season by choosing a mate before winter begins, so that mating and gestation, which lasts about 45 days, culminates in the winter birth of a litter of 4 or 5 young.

These are born without fur, about 50 millimeters in size and weighing a modest gram and a half. Their eyes and ears are born covered, their characteristic tentacles remain tucked up and inactive until they reach semi-adulthood.

During this time they depend on maternal care. They reach adult development almost every year, and by this time they are fully independent. Not much is known about how long they live, but their age is estimated at about 4 years.

Do they have predators?

The natural predators of the Star-nosed Mole are especially some birds of prey found in its habitat.

However, this rare mammal is not on the endangered list.