Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Star Nosed Mole

Condylura cristata is a quite amusing looking little fellow. The common name comes from the fact that their nose is completely hairless and has 22 small "tentacles" that give a star-like appearance. But more on that remarkable nose later. Star Nosed Moles can be found in low wetlands throughout North America and can grow to about 20cm in length.

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The nose of the Star Nosed Mole is the most sensitive organ in the entire animal kingdom. Its nose has over 25,000 touch receptors known as Eimer's Organs, which rapidly tell the brain whether or not what they are touching is edible. Star Nosed Moles are able to locate and consume prey with amazing speed (it is believed they are also the fastest eaters in the animal kingdom as well), and their remarkable sense of touch more than makes up for their poor eyes. It is believed that their eyes are only really good for sensing light and dark.The Moles dig complex tunnel networks with their specialized claws, and build nests underground made from dried plants and grasses.

Star Nosed Moles are monogamous for each breeding season, but have a short life expectancy of only 2-4 years. Star Nosed Moles are preyed upon by various birds, land mammals, and even fish. These Moles are excellent swimmers and will even forage for food while underwater.

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