STAR-NOSED MOLE – Condylura cristata


Star nosed mole facts: This dark-brown mole is best-known for the collection of twenty-two short and pink, fleshy tentacles on the tip of its snout. They have wide, clawed hands, and a tail that is almost as long as their body. Adults range from 6.1 to 8.1 inches (15.5 to 20.5 centimeters) and weigh 1.1 to 3.0 ounces (30 to 85 grams).

Geographic range: Star-nosed moles are found in the eastern United States and eastern Canada.

Star nosed mole habitat: Star-nosed moles prefer wet meadows and forests near water. Occasionally waterside homeowners may find evidence of one in a moist lawn area.

What does the star nosed mole eat: Star-nosed moles like grubs, earthworms, and other invertebrates, and will occasionally eat a small fish.

Behavior and reproduction: A star-nosed mole’s always-wiggling tentacles act like feelers and help the animal to find its food and to make its way through the dark tunnels it digs. Active all year, and both day and night, this mole not only hunts for food inside its tunnels but above ground and in the water. Predators vary depending on the mole’s location. When they are in the water, fish pose a threat.

On land, meat-eating birds, snakes, and mammals may attack and kill moles. Other moles make long and winding mole runs, but the usual outward sign of the star-nosed mole is its molehills, which are small mounds of dirt at the entrances and exits for their tunnels. Although they are usually loners, two or more individuals may spend the winter together in shared, below-ground chambers. They do not hibernate, and even in the cold of winter, may leave their tunnels to dig through the snow. Females have one litter of two to seven babies each year. The young leave the nest in about a month, and begin having their own families by the following year.

Star-nosed moles and people: People rarely see star-nosed moles or recognize evidence of them, so interactions between these moles and humans are rare.

Conservation status: Star-nosed moles are not threatened.