Star-Nosed Mole

Close up of the star-nosed mole showing its tentacles and claws

Moles are small animals that spend most of their lives underground, burrowing tunnels with their sharp claws. Moles are active during the day or night, but you will know they are there from the piles of dirt left in the yard. Moles cannot see very well. They have very tiny eyes that are covered by a layer of fur.

There are several types of moles. One type is an amazing creature with a fancy nose called a star-nosed mole. It lives in the eastern parts of North America. The star-nosed mole is 5-9 inches long and feeds on insects, small fish and worms. It has dark, coarse fur, and a furry tail.

The star-nose on this mole is not used to smell. Instead the star-nose is made up of 22 tentacles or rays, which are constantly moving and exploring searching for prey. These rays are connected to thousands of nerve fibers, like the touch fibers in human hands. This is how the mole explores its environment.

A photo of a star-nosed mole lounging in a swamp
A photo of a star-nosed mole emerging from the dirt
Did You Know?
  • They use their front legs like shovels to dig their tunnels, which can be up to 100 feet long.
  • Unlike other moles, star-nosed moles prefer to live in damp areas, like marshes, swamps, and the banks of streams or lakes.
  • The star-nosed mole is one of the only mammals that can smell underwater. It blows bubbles and then inhales the bubble to sniff for prey while swimming!
  • Because of its star, this mole can find its prey, catch it and eat it faster than any other mammal.
     

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