Star-nosed mole
Condylura cristata

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Star-nosed mole
Mass: 34-78 g
Body length: 114-127 mm
Tail length: 76-89 mm
Colour: dark brown
Young: 3-7 per litter

Habitat: low, wet ground near lakes and streams

Diet: small terrestrial invertebrates and earthworms; insect larvae, aquatic invertebrates
Natural History:

Known primarily by its strange and conspicous 22-tentacled nose, the star-nosed mole is North America's only semi-aquatic mole. No snout in the animal kingdom, not even the elephant's trunk is as mobile, complex or touch sensitive.

The northmost distributed North American mole, these animals are accomplished swimmers. In fact, Condylura may be seen burrowing through snow and even diving under the ice (and presumably foraging) during winter.

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Star-nosed mole

Range of the star-nosed mole Distribution:

Most extensive distribution of any North American mole, and occurs substantially farther north than other species. Broadly distributed from the Atlantic region, including Cape Breton Island, in the east to eastern Manitoba in the west (an isolated population may occur in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba). In the United States this mole is found all along the Atlantic coast to extreme northern Florida, and among the Appalachian Mountains to eastern Tennessee and western South Carolina.

Selected Readings:

Catania, K.C. 2000. A star is born. Natural History, 109:66-69.

Petersen, K.E. and T.L. Yates. 1980. Condylura cristata. Mammalian Species, 129:1-4.

van Zyll de Jong, C.G. Handbook of Canadian mammals. 1. Marsupials and insectivores. National Museum of Canada, Ottawa 210pp.

Yates, T.L. 1983. The mole that keeps its nose clean. Natural History, 92:55-60.

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  (Text © K. Campbell 1998-2009)