Scientists have long wondered about the reason for the star nosed mole's unusual schnozz. There have been many theories. Some thought the star was a souped-up smell organ that helped the moles sniff their way around underground. Some thought it was an extra "hand" for grasping prey. And some thought it was an antenna to detect electric fields as moles swim through muddy marsh water. A 1995 study finally proved that the stars are super-sensitive touch organs. And a study just published in Nature advances a theory about why the stars are so big.

Fact, Pics, and Video of the Star Nosed MoleThe 22 "fingers" of the star have a surface area eight times greater than the nose of the mole's close cousin, the eastern mole. The fingers also allow the mole to quickly tap on objects it comes across—13 times a second, compared to the eastern mole's eight times a second. That means the star-nosed mole can find 14 times the number of food items than the eastern mole can in a given amount of time. The advantage really pays off where there are lots of small prey animals, as in the marshy homes of star-nosed moles.

  • It takes a driver about 650 milliseconds to hit the brake after seeing a traffic light ahead turn red.
  • In 650 milliseconds, in the dark, a star-nosed mole can detect a worm or insect larva, determine that it is edible, and eat it.
  • The human record for eating hard-boiled eggs is 65 eggs in 6 minutes and 40 seconds, or six seconds per egg.
  • But a star-nosed mole can eat 10 mouthful-sized chunks of earthworm, one at a time, in 2.3 seconds—0.23 seconds per chunk. That's more than 26 times as fast as the human record for eating hard-boiled eggs. In fact, it's the fastest eating ever measured in any mammal.

Be sure to check out the videos of the mole eating, in real time and slow motion, on the linked website. They're amazing!

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

nanky's picture
nanky says:

what's all this about moles? all moles are the same, please give me pictures about these two different kinds of moles.

posted on Fri, 02/18/2005 - 4:32pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I think that moles are only sometimes cute!

posted on Sat, 04/01/2006 - 1:19pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:


posted on Wed, 05/31/2006 - 10:06am
nanky's picture
nanky says:

sorry nevermind, there were pictures afterall :)

posted on Fri, 02/18/2005 - 4:37pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

fast food is fatty

posted on Mon, 01/02/2006 - 10:38am
Izvyho's picture
Izvyho says:

Whether or not this extreme conclusion is justified, we must acknowledge that the elements which lead to its formulation are undeniably present in Utopia.

posted on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 2:51pm
maleman001's picture
maleman001 says:

I dont like fast food they have to much fat and is nasty.

posted on Thu, 01/08/2009 - 6:54pm

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0jmvdh.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options