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Star nose mole

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A Star nose mole

Scientific name: Condylura cristata
Common names: Star nosed mole
Habitat : Northeastern North America, Northern Atlantic Ocean, cold seas in southern hemisphere
Food : Insects
Class : Mammalia
Body Length : 15 to 20cm
Weight : 50 grams

Relative size of an adult star nose mole

★ This weird and wonderful creature is the star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata), a small, semi-aquatic mammal which inhabits the low wetlands of eastern North America.
Mole in its dark dwelling

★ Like its cousins it digs burrows and tunnels for foraging grubs, worms, and other foods, including mollusks too. Many times these tunnels will lead under-water, as an easy escape route. It digs two types – a shallow foraging tunnel, and a much deeper tunnel for protection.

Mole swimming with its large, scaled feet
★ Their nose is the most unique thing.

★ Its nose has 22 fleshy tentacles which are extremely sensitive to touch and to electrical impulses and allow the moles to find and identify their invertebrate prey without using sight.. 

★ This strange nose has an important job: It helps locate food.

 ★ This multifunctional 'star' is also used to keep soil and food from entering the nose.

★ The 22 tentacles on a star-nosed mole bear more than 25,000 receptive organs called Eimer's organs in a space smaller than one square centimetre making it 6 times more sensitive than a human hand.

★  This makes the star ultrasensitive - it is, in fact, the most sensitive organ in the entire animal kingdom.

★  The nose is innervated by 100,000 large diameter axons, so that tactile information from it is transmitted to the brain rapidly. Furthermore, the star-nosed mole's brain processes the information at a very high speed, which approaches the upper limit at which nervous systems are capable of functioning. 

★ The mole can therefore decide whether or not something is edible within about 25 milliseconds.  By comparison, it takes us humans approximately 600ms to press the brake pedal in response to something that steps out in front of our car. 

★ The animal has also recently found its way into "Guinness Book of Records as the world's fastest forager" for its astonishing fast working brain and ability to decide and of course,  its special nose.

★ The star-nosed mole can touch 13 separate areas of the ground every second, and can locate and consume 8 separate prey items in under 2 seconds. 

★ Living as it does in almost complete darkness, the star-nosed mole has poorly developed eyes, and is virtually blind. Instead, it relies heavily on its remarkable star-shaped nose.

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