Animals

17 Star-Nosed Mole Facts You’ll Never Forget

Discover interesting star-nosed mole facts such as that this is the only living species in the genus.
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The star-nosed mole, as the name implies, is a small sized-mole found in moist, low areas in its distribution. The mole is known for its weak eyes and it is the only species in the tribe to have Eimer's organs, which is a touch organ with more than 25000-minute sensory receptors. With these organs, this species feels its way around. The Eimer's organs are visible and are one of the key differentiating features of the species with its star-shaped face. Unlike other moles, star-nosed moles can even smell underwater. This is done by exhaling air towards objects and then inhaling those air bubbles back. This helps to carry the scent back to the mole's nose.

The sense of touch of the star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata) is heightened to a level that it is able to feel everything by being constantly touched by different objects or prey items. The usual habitat that the mammal is found in is wetlands, forests, swamps, marshes, and near water. It prefers any habitat with moist soil. Although rare, it is also found sometimes in dry meadow areas. These animals are always active, be it day and night.

The mole is recognized by a water-repellent dark brown fur helping it forage in any weather conditions. It has broad feet with claws. The star-nosed mole eats anything from aquatic insects, mollusks, small amphibians, worms to small fish. It is the fastest eater in the world, with this species gobbling down their prey in a quarter of a second.

For more relatable content, check out these interesting field vole facts and water vole facts.

Star-Nosed Mole

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Small invertebrates, insects, and worms

What do they eat?

Carnivore

Average litter size?

2-7

How much do they weigh?

0.077-0.165 lb (35-74.8 g)

How long are they?

6.88-8.07 in (174.7-205 mm)

How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Star-shaped nose and dark brown body

Skin Type

Fur

What are their main threats?

Habitat loss and predators

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Marshes, forests, wetlands, and banks of streams

Locations

North America

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Mammalia

Scientific Name

Condylura cristata

Family

Talpidae

Genus

Condylura

Star-Nosed Mole Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a star-nosed mole?

The star-nosed mole is a small mole species found in the northern parts of North America.

What class of animal does a star-nosed mole belong to?

The star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata) falls under the class of Mammalia in the kingdom of Animalia.

How many star-nosed moles are there in the world?

The population of this species is not known. However, they are found abundant all over their habitats and there are no issues currently threatening the population of star-nosed moles.

Where does a star-nosed mole live?

Found in eastern North America, star-nosed moles are also seen in Quebec and Newfoundland. The range also extends from the Atlantic Ocean to Manitoba and to South Dakota. From there, they are found south to Ohio and Virginia.

Although in a limited capacity, these moles are also found on the Atlantic coast, south to Georgia and also in the Appalachian Mountains.

What is a star-nosed mole's habitat?

The habitat of these animals comprises mainly places with moist soil. Areas like coniferous and deciduous forests, clearings, wet meadows, marshes, and peatlands are considered the local habitats of this species. The star-nosed moles prefer places with poor drainage. They are also found in areas near banks of streams, lakes, and ponds. A secluded population can also be found in dry meadows. These moles are found along the coast.

Who do star-nosed moles live with?

Moles are known to be solitary most of the time and only form pairs for breeding. However, in the case of the star-nosed mole, it is known to be found in small colonies. The colonies are often considered loose. As the species are semi-aquatic, the burrows and tunnels often open under the surface of a stream or lake.

A group of moles is called a labour.

How long does a star-nosed mole live?

There is not much information on the lifespan of this mammal in the wild. It is expected that this species can live up to an age of three to four years of age. In captivity, star-nosed moles can live up to two years.

The usual lifespan of any mole species in the wild is three to four years.

How do they reproduce?

Star-nosed mole remains monogamous for a breeding season and the pair is made in autumn. They stay together through the mating season which is in March and April. The way males and females attract their counterparts is not known. The species mates in spring from mid of March to April. There is only one litter per breeding season. The gestation period is about 45 days. The young are born at the end of April to mid of June. The single litter by females consists of two to seven young, however, the average size of a litter is five. If the mating becomes unsuccessful or the young dies, the females mate again and give birth in late July.

The young born are usually hairless and have a length of around 1.9 in (48.2 mm) and weigh around 0.003 lb (1.3 g). The eyes and ears of the young are closed at birth while the tentacles are folded back. The star, eyes, and ears open up after around two weeks of time after birth. The young become independent in 30 days, while sexual maturity is reached in 10 months. The information on parental care is not available.

Usually, in moles, males expand their territories to attract females during the mating season. The mating starts in late winter. A spherical-shaped nest is made of dry material of plant for the young and the females care for the young alone. There is no parental care given by the males. The usual litter size is two to five and it takes about a month for the young to be fully independent.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the star-nosed mole is categorized as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. It is a relatively common species found abundantly in natural habitats. They remain conspicuous most of the time in wet areas and do not come into contact with humans. There is no direct impact on the population of the species by humans. This species is not currently affected by the human population or encroachment, However, the recent trend shows that destruction of wetland habitats by human practices can lead to problems for these moles soon. Large numbers of star-nosed moles are also sometimes caught in the traps made for muskrats.

Predators like cats, various species of hawks and owls like great horned owls, barred owls, barn owls, red-tailed hawks, broad-winged hawks, foxes, skunks, weasels, minks, and bullfrogs affect the numbers of this species, but it is still in the minimum range.

Star-Nosed Mole Fun Facts

What do star-nosed moles look like?

This species has the most distinctive looks among all moles in the world. The nose does not have any hair and has a star-like structure in the front with 22 pink-colored, fleshy tentacles. There are 11 appendages on each side of the star with lengths ranging from 0.04-0.15 in (1-3.8 mm). Like all other moles, the star-nosed mole also has a snout. It is complemented with a cylindrical body, muscled forelimbs, broad feet, and claws. It has dense, coarse, and short fur of dark brown/black coloration on the back and lighter on the under-body. The tail is scaly and filled with coarse hair. The length of the tail is 2.56-3.34 in (65-84.8 mm) long. In winters, the tail swells around three to four times the usual diameter.

There are two subspecies of the star-nosed mole which is the only living member of the genus Condylura. The subspecies in the south of the home range are slightly smaller than the north ones.

The dark brown colored mole has a unique star-shaped nose to detect its environment.

How cute are they?

Moles are not usually considered cute. The starry nose of this species does not make them too approachable.

How do they communicate?

As they are almost blind, this species communicates by the sense of touch. The organs present in the tentacles help them to find others and even prey. The sensitive organs called the Eimer's organs can even detect faint electrical signals and seismic activities.

How big is a star-nosed mole?

The length of a star-nosed mole has a range of 6.88-8.07 in (174.7-205 mm). The tail of this species is 2.56-3.34 in (65-84.8 mm) long.

Usually, moles are around 4.4-6.25 in (111.7-158.7 mm) long, while the adult fancy rat is almost twice the size of the normal moles. This can give a perspective of how small a mole actually is.

How fast can a star-nosed mole run?

The speed of a star-nosed mole is not known. Moles can dig a hole really fast with around 15 ft (4.5 m) of soil dug in an hour.

How much does a star-nosed mole weigh?

The weight of a star-nosed mole is around 0.077-0.165 lb (35-74.8 g). Moles usually weigh around 0.15-0.28 lb (68-127 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no information on the names given to the males and females of star-nosed moles. Male moles are usually known as boars and female moles are called sows.

What would you call a baby star-nosed mole?

A baby star-nosed mole is called a young. Mole babies are called pups in general.

What do they eat?

Star-nosed moles feed mainly on invertebrates. The main diet consists of earthworms, fish, aquatic insects, mollusks, terrestrial worms, aquatic or marine worms, and aquatic crustaceans. These moles can even smell underwater with the help of their tentacles as they exhale an air bubble. The air bubble structs the objects or prey and the mole again inhales the bubble helping them smell and find their prey even.

There are many predators known for this American mole. While predators from the air include hawks and some species of owls, on the ground they are hunted by dogs, cats, weasels, skunks, mink, and bullfrogs.

Are they dangerous?

They are not dangerous to humans. They always remain inconspicuous and stay away from human civilizations.

Would they make a good pet?

They are not considered pets.

Did you know...

Star-nosed moles are hardcore carnivores.

They are the only living member of the genus Condylura and the only species of moles with fleshy tentacles.

They are not endangered and are found abundant in habitats all around North America.

They have eyes but their vision is not great.

Is the star-nosed mole blind?

Star-nosed mole eyes do not work properly. Like all other moles, they are partially blind. However, as they mostly stay burrowed in soil and live in near-complete darkness, vision is not necessary for these animals. The Eimer's organs help them find prey and everything else when needed.

Why is it called a star-nosed mole?

It is called a star-nosed mole because of the star-shaped tentacles in front of the nose. This helps them sense the environment and detect everything. Their eyes are of little use to these moles.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover!  For more relatable content, check out these Cuban solenodon facts and greater bilby facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable mole outline coloring pages.

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