Weird Eating Habits of the Star-Nosed Mole

Weird Eating Habits of the Star-Nosed Mole



The star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata) is a fascinating creature known for its distinctive appearance and unusual feeding habits. Found in wet lowland areas of eastern Canada and northeastern United States, this mole species has a highly specialized nose that plays a crucial role in its feeding behaviors.

Anatomy of the Star-Nosed Mole


The star-nosed mole derives its name from its unique nose, which is adorned with 22 fleshy appendages called “rays.” These rays are encrusted with approximately 25,000 minute sensory receptors known as Eimer’s organs, making the nose incredibly sensitive and tactile.

Feeding Behavior


The star-nosed mole is an excellent swimmer and prefers habitats with access to water, lakes, streams, and marshes. Its bizarre feeding habits are closely tied to its aquatic lifestyle.

1. Foraging Underwater


Unlike other moles that mainly feed on earthworms and insects found in soil, the star-nosed mole dives into the water using its powerful forelimbs and explores the muddy substrate with its nose. It can spend up to five seconds underwater during each dive while foraging for prey.

2. Extraordinary Sensory Abilities


The star-like nose not only functions as the mole’s sensory organ to detect underwater vibrations but also assists in capturing food. Its Eimer’s organs allow it to perceive minute electrical signals emitted by potential larvae, aquatic invertebrates, and small fish, even in complete darkness.

3. Exceptional Hunting Speed


Once a prey item is detected, the star-nosed mole can launch a lightning-fast attack. It has been recorded that these moles can identify, pursue, and devour prey in as little as a quarter of a second. This extraordinary speed allows them to catch small prey, such as insects and small invertebrates, with extreme precision.

Nocturnal Lifestyle


Star-nosed moles are primarily nocturnal creatures, meaning that they are most active during the night. Their specialized nose, equipped with sensitive touch receptors, helps them navigate and hunt in darkness effectively.



The star-nosed mole’s weird eating habits, which revolve around its exceptional nose, make it a truly unique and intriguing species. Its ability to hunt underwater using sensory clues and astonishing speed showcases the incredible adaptations nature can produce. Understanding these peculiarities further contributes to our knowledge of the diverse ways animals have evolved to survive and thrive in their respective environments.

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